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^y or PRi/ic?^ 

'Logical SE>^;5^ 

BS 2775 .L921 1884 
Lowrie, Samuel T. 1835-1924 
An explanation of the 
Epistle to the Hebrews 









530 Broadway. 






Page 47, 13th line from bottom, for Iv and Ivi, read Ixv and 

Page 77, 5th line from top, for infiniiy, read infirmity. 
Page 105, 3rd line from^ bottom, for presented, rQ3i6. preserved. 
Page 181, 5th line from top, for hi^n, xtdid firm. 
Page 213, 4th line from bottom, for are fleeing, tedidi fled. 
Page 216, 8th and 15th lines from top, for flee, read fled. 
Page 216, 9th line from top, iox present, read aorist. 
Page 240, 1 8th line from top, before also, supply of necessity. 
Page 264, 3rd and 8th lines from top, ior priest, read priests. 
Page 272, 3rd line from top, for /or, read wit/i. 
Page 454, 6th line from top, heiore fait/i, supply t/iis. 
Page 506, 9th and i8th lines from top, for Hai^., read d!lag. 
Page 512, 8th line from bottom, for /lave, read /lad. 
Page 528, I St line from top, read to tvhom through Jesus. 
Page 532, 3d line from bottom, supply luith whom, if he 

come so soon, I will see you. 
Page 536, Perfection, for 10. 11, read 5<5, f/. 


The explanation of the Epistle to the Hebrews, herewith offered 
to the public, is the fruit of eight years devoted to its study. 
One result of the study has been the conviction that the epistle 
claims the attention of Christian scholars, as a too much neglected 
portion of Holy Scripture. Not till the contents of the present 
volume were nearly written out in full was the thouglit of pub- 
lishing seriously entertained. But when one's investigation of a 
subject of universal importance has led him to see much as it has 
not commonly been seen by others, the impulse to publish is 
natural. This may be the impulse of a prophet, who is con- 
strained to teach as knowing what others are ignorant of, yet 
need to learn. Or it may be the impulse of a scholar, who feels 
the need of enlisting those better qualified than himself in the 
study of the subject that has yielded so much to him, so that it 
may be searched till all its riches are brought to light. The 
latter has been the impelling motive to the present publication. 

These considerations, however, though fortified by the encour- 
agement of friends, whose judgment miglit justly give confidence, 
and whose encouragement is hereby gratefully acknowledged, could 
hardly have moved the writer to this publication, had he merely 
the results of his own investigations to offer. The inspiration to 
these studies was received from Dr. von Hofmann, late professor 
of theology in Erlangen. The writer, liaving begun an acquaint- 
ance Avith him in his lecture-room, during a brief sojourn at that 
university in 1857, has continued to cultivate it since in his pub- 


lished works, and thus has learned to know the extraordinary 
merit of his exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews. 

Delitzsch, who, before his removal to Leipzig, was long asso- 
ciated with von Hofmann in the university of Erlangen, bears the 
following testimony : "His contributions to the interpretation of our 
Epistle, especially in his Sckriftbeweis (cJi. i. — x.), are very com- 
plete and comprehensive. Taken all together, they furnish the 
most valuable hints which have yet been given as to the purj^ose, 
plan and connection of thought in the epistle, and will be recog- 
nized as doing so by every one who is more than a superficial 
inquirer " (Delitzsch, Comm. on the Hebrews, vol. I. p. 33; 
Clark's For. Theol. Lib.). What Delitzsch judged so favorably, 
as seen in brief form, and conveying chiefly hints, we now have 
in a full and mature form, adjusted to contemporary opposing 
criticism, in von Hofmann's work, entitled : Die heillge Schrifi 
neuen Testaments zusammenhdngend untersucht, Nordlingen, 
1873, of which part fifth, comprising 561 pp. 8vo., is a com- 
mentary on our epistle. It would be an invaluable gift to 
English Christians were a suitable translation of it published. 
Such, however, is von Hofmann's style that, as Godet says : " its 
intrinsic purity does not vindicate itself till one has read a pas- 
sage four or five times " (Comm. on Romans, Introduction). He 
can only be properly translated, therefore, by scholars that are 
able to write books of their own, and who are unlikely to under- 
take the drudgery of such translation. But it is possible for 
many, that are familiar with the German, to read von Hofmann 
for themselves ; and it is a grateful labor to reproduce in one's 
own fashion what one has so learned. This the writer has done 
in the composition that is hereby published. His chief encour- 
agement to the publication is the belief, that it is rendering no 
small service to those who would make deeper studies in the 
Epistle to the Hebrews, to present to them, even in this fashion, 


some of the fruits of von Hofraann's investigations. These will 
be recognized by the references at the foot of the page, and par- 
ticularly by extended quotations. At chapter xiii., however, the 
writer has given von Hofmann's exposition instead of one of his 
own composition. Beside the motives for this that are stated in 
a preface to the translation itself, the following considerations 
had their influence. There is an impression in English circles 
and elsewhere, that von Hofmann is whimsical. Godet says of 
his exposition of the Epistle to the Romans, that " he delights in 
exegetical discoveries which one can hardly be persuaded that he 
seriously believes in himself." The writer cannot concur in this 
opinion, though often unable himself to accept von Hofraann's 
views. As English readers may never have seen a sample of his 
exegetical work, the translation that concludes the present expo- 
sition is given that they may judge for themselves. 

Having made the foregoing acknowledgment of indebtedness 
to von Hofmann, the writer deems it just to himself to say, that 
the present exposition is not merely a study of that author, nor 
a reproduction of him. It is a study of the epistle itself By 
quotations from other authors, but especially by the references at 
the foot of the page, it will appear how fully he has consulted 
those that have labored on the same subject. Except where the 
contrary distinctly appears, these references are marks of the 
writer's own reading and observation. It has not, indeed, been 
deemed necessary to consult every author of note that has written 
on the Hebrews. But it is important to such studies that one 
should consider everything of value that has been published on 
his subject. The writer believes that, in the sources he has con- 
sulted, everything of this sort has at least met his eye, whether 
it has sufficiently arrested his attention or not. 

Something should be said in explanation of the references 
made to authors. One object, of course, is to give credit where 


it is due. But in most cases an author is referred to simply as a 
sponsor for a view that is mentioned, whether for concurrence or 
rejection. By this it will appear, that not merely imaginary 
views are handled. Moreover, the writer thereby avoids the 
appearance of representing as the common understanding of 
Christians what is not so, and also of presenting as his own 
what has been given by others. Beyond this no system in 
naming authors has been used. They will be found, on one 
account or other, good representatives of the views with which 
they are mentioned. No rule has been observed to choose the best. 
Often accident at the time of reading determined the writer's 
choice. By using the words " with," " against," nothing more is 
meant than by pro and con. viz., merely to indicate briefly the atti- 
tude of the author named toward the subject under consideration. 
Whether one or many names be cited, it is rarely with the pur- 
pose of supporting an opinion by the influence of a scholarly 
name, ^ne must not seek to determine what shall be accepted 
as the meaning of revelation by taking a vote of scholars. 
When the labor of students is devoted to a canvass of that 
sort, it is a sign that knowledge has come to a stand-still. 
It is possible for every student of the word ultimately to know 
for himself whether it means what he has apprehended it to 
mean. Only this conviction can sustain one in the study that is 
demanded in order to comply with the injunction : " Search the 
Scriptures." The present composition was originally written 
out, and is now published with a view to realize the truth of this 

It will be noticed that this volume presents none of the matter 
usually treated under the head of Introduction in that form. 
No apology, it is supposed, is needed for this. Yet if there 
Were, the writer would express the opinion, that a disj^ropor- 
tionate amount of labor has of late years been expended on that 


department. One may, therefore, feel himself dispensed from 
traversing the same ground. The more so, because, in the 
interest of the inquiries : who wrote ? and when? and under what 
circumstances ? and what has been the history of controversy on 
these topics? the knowledge of " what is written," and the ability 
to answer the question : " how readest thou ? " seem in danger of 
perishing. The most important question belonging to Introduc- 
tion is the Authorship. The writer believes that Paul was the 
Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews. The earliest definite tradition 
of the Church ascribed it to him. The epistle itself must determine 
whether we shall abide by that tradition or not. Notice is taken 
of all that seems to throw most light on this question as it occurs 
in the text. And that is the best place to deal with it. 

In regard to the genuine text of our epistle, the labor of expo- 
sition is much facilitated by the general harmony of the latest 
critical editors. The viii. edition of Tischendorf and that of 
Westcott and Hort have been taken as the text of the present 
work. Where they differ, which is very rarely, and where, for 
reasons of his own or derived from others, a reading different from 
theirs is adopted, due notice is given. The instances are few. 

In regard to the translations of the text of the epistle that 
appear in this volume, it seems expedient to say, that tliey are 
not intended as an improved version. They are, indeed, intended 
to be correct. They may be that, however, without being the best 
for a version for English Christians. It is often said by those who 
are displeased with the Kevisiou of 1881, that, while it is poor 
as a version, it is good as a commentary. The translations of 
the present volume are intended to serve the purpose so expressed. 
Where criticism of the versions of 1611, 1881 is intended, it is 
done expressly. 

The writer has aimed at expressing himself in as lucid a style 
as the nature of his investigations admits of, and by adding 


translations to Greek words when used, has even hoped to 
enlist readers unfamiliar with the Greek. He fears, never- 
theless, that those who may have patience to read will often feel 
that this mark has not been reached. The writer's chief aim, 
however, has been another, which may be expressed in the language 
of Joseph Mede in a letter to L. de Dieu : Eo enim ingenio sum 
(delicatulo, an morosof) ut nisi ubi interpretatio commode et absque 
salebris eat, nunquam mihi satisfacere soleam. (Jos. Mede ; Works, 
fol. London, 1672, p. 569.) With this superior aim, it is likely 
that the other has often been overlooked. 


Ewing Manse, near Trenton, N. J. 

August, 1884. 

The names of authors referred to in the present work may be easily 
identified in any good list of commentators on the Epistle to the Hebrews. 
It seems expedient only to name the following as the most recent writers on 
the subject : 

Dr. Kay, in The (Speaker's) Bible Commentary. 

Dr. MouLTON, in The (Ellicott's) Handy Commentary. 

Dr. A. B. Davidson, in the Hand-Books for Bi)jle Classes. 

Dr. Angus, in The Popular Commentary, Schaff. 



I. 1. God having of old time by divers portions and in divers 
manners spoken unto the fathers in the prophets, 2. hath at the end 
of these days spoken unto us in a Son whom he appointed heir of 
all things, through whom also he made the ages. 

Our epistle in the original begins very sonorously with two 
euphonious adverbs conjoined by : and, which, missing sadly the 
euphony, we translate : by divers portions and in divers manners. 
Being put so prominently, these adverbs emphasize the traits of 
the revelations so described, and thus a contrast is intimated in 
the revelation of which Christ was the agent, which was not 
given piece-meal and in many diiferent fashions, but is a revela- 
tion whole and complete, and uniform in manner.^ This 
description is not merely for description's sake. It is the appro- 
priate preface to the following discourse, wherein "the divers 
portions and manners " (not all, but prominent ones) are taken 
in detail, viz., angels, Moses, law, sacrifices, tabernacle ; and to all 
these is opposed the one "Jesus Christ, the same, yesterday, 
to-day and forever." Referring to the period of divine revela- 
tions preceding Christ by the term : of old time, it is plain that 
the Apostle means the whole period. And since he designates 
the agents of the revelations in the plural number, by tlie name 
of the prophets, and, in accordance with the facts of all revela- 
tion preceding, describes their revelations, as given in many parta 

^ So von Hofinann. 


and in a variety of ways, it is evident that he means all pre- 
ceding revelations of the Old Testament. Moreover, by saying : 
of old time— to the fathers, he implies just such an extended 
period since last the voice of revelation was heard as our 
canonical scriptures show between the Old and New Testaments. 
Thus we have an intimation that neither the Apostle nor his 
readers regarded as divine revelation compositions like the Old 
Testament Apocrypha, which being quite or comparatively recent 
productions at the time of this writing, would neither be 
described as of old time, nor as spoken to the fathers.^ 

With this old time of revelation and its agents the prophets, 
the Apostle contrasts the period of revelation by Christ and 
Christ the agent. Both the period, as a distinct event, and the 
agent, as one totally different, are emphatic. This, in the sequel, 
becomes plain with respect to the period, when we see the period 
and its revelation described as doing away with the most import- 
ant and the distinctive characteristics of the period that precedes 
it. With respect to the agent, the intended contrast is so obvious 
as to need no remark. The Author's purpose is to show that he 
supersedes all the agents of revelation that appeared before him. 
The revelation of old time was to the fathers; that of the 
present is to us ; such is the Apostle's mode of expression. In this 
we notice the natural mode of expression in a discourse where both 
writer and readers are exclusively Hebrews.^ These revelations, 
from first to last, were to the chosen people of God, the descend- 
ants of Abraham. The Apostle calls the present: at the end 
of these days. Were it simply the present that he meant, the 
Author would use some other phrase than : these days.^ This 
phrase always refers to a present previously expressed in the 
context. The only thing of the sort represented in our context 
is the period of God's communicating with men by revelation. 
This the Author treats as one period : these days ; but distin- 
guishes between what has been and what is now. What has 

1 So Bleek. 

^ Not that the writer's thoughts were exclusively occupied with the Hebrews, 
like Pliilo. So Farrar, Early Days of Christianity, Chap. xvi. § 1. 
^ Comp. ix. 9. 


been he calls : of old ; and we mnst snppose that he attaches the 
pregnant meaning to that expression that he develops, viii. 13 : 
" But that which is becoming old and waxeth aged is nigh unto 
vanishing away." That which is now he calls : at the end, which 
expresses that the course of revelation, or of these days, has come 
to an end, and that what God spoke by a Son is the final revela- 
tion of all.^ This interpretation of his meaning is confirmed by 
all that the Apostle proceeds to say in exaltation of the last- 
named agent of revelation, which makes it inconceivable that 
another should follow Him, and by the fact that the entire 
epistle assumes that in Christ we have the final revelation, and 
does not contain a word that intimates that God will speak again 
to others of later date. Of both periods of revelation the 
Apostle says : God spoke, not " has spoken " (the aorist, not the 
perfect tense). What was so spoken may still speak to us. In 
the sequel we find the Apostle appealing to the old-time revela- 
tion as still speaking, as well as to the final revelation. 

The great and distinctive fact of the revelation is, that God 
spoke to us by a Son whom he appointed heir of all things. This 
marks the present as a special era of revelation inconceivably 
superior to all that had preceded, and the statement presents the 
truth that the Apostle proposes to set forth in all its significance, 
and in some of its transcendent consequences as they especially 
affect God's covenant people Israel. 

By saying: a Son, instead of using the definite article, the 
Author emphasizes the relation that this final agent of revelation 
sustains to God.^ He is a Son, and thus infinitely superior to 
prophets. To this he joins the expression of what sort of a Son 
He is, viz., whom he appointed heir of all things. This qualifying 
expression must be read, without an intervening comma, in most 
intimate connection with the word Son, as an integral part of the 
notion intended, and not as the first of a series of things predi- 
cated of the Son, and of co-ordinate worth with the predicates 
following. A Son expresses what this agent was and is in His 

' How this comprehends also, in the Apostle's view, what is communicated 
by the agents of Christ will be noticed at ii. 3, 4. 
^ So Bleek, von Ilofinann. 


own nature as related to the Father, and apart from, and there- 
fore before His being appointed heir of all things. The latter 
expression points to something historical, yet something historical 
in a transcendent and eternal sense, seeing it preceded the making 
of the ages, i. e., history in the common sense. If the idea arises, 
that the expression a Son suggests the notion of other sons than 
the one here referred to, the idea is excluded by the qualifying 
expression that completes the notion " Sou." "A Son appointed 
heir of all things " excludes the idea of any other son like this. 
The complete phrase is, in fact, another expression for " an only 
Son." All things is to be taken as comprehensively as possible, 
signifying all that such " a Son " can inherit from such a Father. 
It can mean nothing less than it does in ver. 3, where the con- 
text requires us to understand by "all things," all that is 
external to God. The : making of the ages is only a particular 
under this universal term ; and this particular becoming in turn 
a universal, the work of redemption is a particular under that. 
Calling this Son an "heir" expresses that what he enjoys as his 
own he gets, as is a son's right, by inheritance from the Father -^ 
and the term " appointed " is but the correlative of that notion 
expressed with reference to the Father, who gives the Son His 
proper due. Thus the Author completes the expression " a Son " 
by the notions necessary to the very relation of a father and son. 
He uses this comprehensive representation because, as the sequel 
shows, his aim is, in the way peculiar to this epistle : " to make 
known the mystery of God's will, according to His good pleasure 
which He purposed in Christ unto a dispensation of the fullness 
of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the 
heavens and the things upon the earth, — in whom also all are 
made a heritage that hope in Christ." ^ 

The expressions : whom he appointed heir of all things, and : 
hy whom also he made the worlds, are not, as is commonly 
done, to be taken as co-ordinate statements meant to display the 
greatness of the Son. 

This appears not only in the way we have seen above and 
from the comparative importance of the things affirmed, but also 

1 Comp. Bleek. ^ Eph. i. 10 sqq. 

i. 1, 2.] WHO ALSO MADE THE AGES. 5 

from the grammatical form in whicli the expressions are con- 
nected. In verse 3 we see how the Author does co-ordinate such 
notions with this aim, by using a uniform construction. By com- 
paring the xai <J;' ol) of ii. 10, we see that in our verse the con- 
junction is emphatic, meaning " also." It conjoins a notion that 
the Author means shall be noticed particularly. It is, as said 
above, a particular under the universal term : " heir of all 
things ; " but it is the particular that is important to what he is 
going to represent.^ By : the worlds or ages is of course not meant 
the astronomical notion which we mean by that phrase. That 
Avas an utterly unfamiliar notion to Hebrews, for which they 
had, therefore, no current expression such as this is that we are 
considering. The nearest notion that they had to our astro- 
nomical conceptions they were wont to express in such language 
as we have in ver. 10. Nor does the word mean the same as 
Cosmos..^ According to Jewish conceptions, reflected in post- 
Biblical Hebrew, the totality of the temporal affairs of the world 
comprised a multitude of ages, variously determined, which con- 
stituted so many states of the world, and pertained to human 
history rather than to material things. Thus the term " world " 
extends to human conditions after earth's history shall be finished, 
as in the expression: "world without end."^ These were so 
many " ages " or " worlds," much as we speak of the Roman 
world, the ancient and modern world, the world of science, etc. 
As distinct states of the world's history, their existence and con- 
stitution may be ascribed to God, not in the sense of creation, 
but of " making the .worlds," as in our verse, or of " preparing 
the worlds," as in xi. 3. Thus when the Apostle says, that God 
by the Son made the ages, he means the works of providence and 
not of creation. From this it appears that the statement is not 
something irrelevant and interjected witliout logical connection 
in the context, as some suppose.* AVhat the Apostle here calls 
" the end of these days " (ver. 1), he describes, ix. 26, as " the 
consummation of the ages," when Christ was manifested to put 

' Comp. 1 Cor. XV. 1, 2, a similar conjoining of several expressions intro- 
ducing matters important to the argument the writer is about to make. 
^ Against Bleek. * See Del. * e. g. Stuart in loc. 


away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. By saying here that Clirist 
made the ages, He sets him forth in that light of sovereign 
authority tliat prepares the way for one of the chief aims of the 
present epistle. For the Apostle is about to show, that the 
coming of this final agent of revelation brings in a new world or 
age, and supersedes the old. As the context also intimates a 
contrast between Christ and the prophets, the statement we are 
considering marks a most significant point of contrast. 

Having described the era and the agent of the final revelation, 
the Apostle points to the glorious position that agent assumed 
when His work on earth was done. A further progress in the 
thought is marked by passing from the statement of what God 
has done to what the Son did and does. 

Ver. 3. Who being effulgence of his glory and impress of his 
substance, also upholding all things by the word of his power, when 
he had made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the 
Majesty on high. 

In this verse the main thought is expressed by the direct sen- 
tence : he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. On 
this the three preceding participial clauses are dependent. The 
first two of these clauses (the first being a double clause) are in 
the present tense; but preceding the direct verb in the aorist 
they have the force of the imperfect. The third is formed with 
the aorist participle. The whole verse, however, is connected 
closely with ver. 2, and both vers. 2 and 3 are descriptive of the 
Son. The Author is still representing the final agent of reve- 
lation for the purpose of showing the contrast with all that 
preceded Him. Our verse 3 is intended to show that all that the 
Son was in Himself and by appointment He still remains. Thus 
what He did on earth is mentioned parenthetically : having made 
purification of sins. Some expression covering the period when 
He appeared on earth is necessary to express the idea that, in what 
He was before and in what He is after that revelation was made. 
He continues the same. If, instead of the phrase we have, the 
Author had resumed the expression of ver. 2, and simply said : 
" having spoken to us for God He sat down," etc., no one could 
have mistaken the parenthetical character of the clause that has 


just been pointed out. The choice of another expression docs 
not change this character. That way, however, of referring to 
the aj)pearance of Clirist on earth is not without a purpose. It 
mentions that aspect of His ministry of revelation w^hich the 
Apostle means particularly to contemplate and explain, when he 
comes to deal with the substance of what God made known by 
His Son. But, related as the expression is, in a subordinate way, 
to the direct predicate : " He sat down," etc., the latter becomes 
the first subject of discourse, and the former, viz., Christ dying, 
comes in later, viz., ix. 15 sqq., where compare. 

Proceeding, then, to characterize the Son, who is now the agent 
of revelation, the Apostle says : lie sat down at the right hand of the 
Majesty on. high. The preceding clauses in the present participle 
express His title to the position,^ while that in the aorist marks 
when He took it. But we notice that : being the effulgence of his 
glory and the impress of his substance, also upholding all things 
by the word of his power, are expressions that reiterate, by way 
of interpretation, the substance of the statements : " whom He 
made heir of all things, by whom also He made the ages" (ver. 
2).^ This appears even in the very close grammatical conjunc- 
tion ^ of the first and second clauses (which we try to reproduce 
in the translation by : "also upholding") which thus reflect the 
close connection of the two clauses of ver. 2 noted above. What 
is thus described, therefore, belongs in the same plane with the 
expressions of ver. 2, and does not, as some suppose,* express 
w^liat the Son became after He had made purification. The 
Apostle means to express, that as a Son, and such as He is affirmed 
to be in ver. 2, He was what ver. 3, a, 6, describes, and as such, and 
as thereby entitled so to do, he sat down at the right hand of the 

1 Cbmp. Phil. ii. 6. 

^ This appears from the consensus of New Testament scripture. The Author 
speaks dogmatically here, assuming the knowledge and agreement of his 
readers. Our explanation must adopt the same assumptions, agreeably to the 
plan of attending only to what this Epistle presents to us. We may refer, 
however, to Col. i. 15-17; Phil. ii. 6; Cor. iv. 4. 

' By re: see Winer, New Testament Gramm.. p. 434. 

*e. g.,\on Hof. 


Majesty on high.} He reposed from the work He had done, and 
there reposes in a station suited to His nature and dignity. But 
He is active in all that belongs to the place He now has. 

Having explained the logical relation of the contents of ver. 
3, the particulars of the statements call for our notice. 

The first of these statements is, that the Son is the eiFulgence 
of the glory of God. The brightness or effulgence of glory is the 
very glory itself, as we may say the brightness of the light is 
light. It was this understanding of the words of the text that 
originated the Church's watchword ; " Light of Light," em- 
bodied in the Nicene creed, and that justifies the inference (1), 
" that the Son must be comubstantial with the Father, inasmuch 
as what emanates from light must itself have the nature of light ; 
and (2), that the divine generation of the Son must be at once a 
free and a necessary process within the Godhead — similar to the 
relation between sunlight and the sun." ^ 

The second of these statements is, that the Son is the impress 
of Ms substance. The word translated impress means the stamp 
that impresses the wax with an image. The statement here is, 
that the substance or essence of God has in the Son that stamp 
or imprint of itself in which it is represented so as to be plainly 
apprehended.^ In other words, in the Son the divine substance 
appears, having shape and form. As to the glory and the 
substance of God, the former is the appearance of the being of 
God externally ; the latter is His being or essence itself As 
the substance and glory are related, so are the effulgence and the 
stamp or impress. 

The third of these statements is, that the Son upholds all things 
by the word of his power. As has been noticed, this statement 
is conjoined so intimately with the two that precede as to imply 

^ The mention of His work of making purification of sins suggests to us the 
thought of Christ's state of humiliation, and the inquiry : How is the divine 
substance and glory and providence of the Son related to that state of humilia- 
tion ? But this suggestion is our own. The Author's thought does not touch 
it. The present language is silent on this subject. The Author mentions the 
earthly work only to express the fact of what took place after it. 

■>■ Del. ' So von Hof. 


that it is a notion necessarily or logically involved in the truth 
that they express. Obviously, in such a connection, all things 
signifies, in the most comprehensive sense, all that is not of the 
divine substance, or that is external to God. This : all the Son 
upholds, or bears, and thus to Him is ascribed the continuance 
of all things.^ He does this by the word of Ms power, which 
expresses that the power is His oivn, and that He exerts it by the 
utterance of His will, like the : "God said " of the original crea- 
tion. For this thought must come to every Hebrew reader of 
these words. It is impossible to use language that would 
more unequivocally than these statements affirm the actual and 
proper divinity of the Son appointed heir of all things. 

The fourth of these statements is, that the Son made purifica- 
tion of sins. As has been remarked, the Author, under this form, 
refers to the fact of Christ having spoken to us for God, without 
intending to point a contrast between the humiliation that in- 
volved and the exaltation that is next described. Said of God, 
this statement would express the forgiveness of sins.^ But said 
of Christ, as the sequel of the epistle shows, it means the ex- 
piation of sins by blotting them out. This, as the middle voice 
of the verb expresses,^ He did of Himself and as His own work. 
This sense would be more expressly given if "by Himself" 
were part of the genuine text. Such, however, is not the case. 
Yet the presence of the words in many MSS. may be accepted as a 
hint from very ancient and intelligent readers, perhaps from even 
the first recipients of the epistle, not to let this emphatic mean- 
ing of the verb escape our notice. As expressed here, the state- 
ment means what is amplified elsewhere,^ that what has the virtue 
of cleansing away sins was done, once for all, by what Christ did 
on earth, viz., by His death. 

It is to be noticed, that all these statements of fundamental 
Christian truths are not only made dogmatically, i. e., without 
proof, but that they are introduced by indirect expressions. This 
implies that they were accepted truths with the readers of this 

» Comp. Col. i. 15-17. ' Comp. LXX, Job vii. 21. 

^ See Kuhner, Gram. II., p. 97, § 4. * Comp. ix. 26. 


epistle. The Apostle does not treat them as matters that need to 
be established, but freely states them as the groundwork of what 
he means to prove by an extended argument. This reflection is 
very important to a clear comprehension of the matter that is to 
follow. It throws light on the doctrinal status of those whom 
the Apostle is instructing. We will mistake the meaning of 
much that he writes if, on the one hand, we ascribe to his readers 
too little Christian knowledge, or, on the other hand, too much. 
The verse before us (ver. 3) is proof that they were familiar, at 
least, with no inconsiderable amount of fundamental truth, and 
we may infer that as much as this was included in the confession 
of their faith in Christ.' We must include in this reflection the 
fifth and final statement of our verse. 

The fifth and final statement (this is by the direct verb and is 
the chief statement) is, that the Son sat down at the right hand 
of the Majesty on high. Thus the Apostle expresses that Christ 
returned to heaven. He is not prompted to use the word on high 
in order to point a contrast with a previous state of humiliation ; 
for there has been no expression or suggestion of that humiliation. 
It is because the Apostle himself is exalting his subject as 
the final agent of revelation that he concludes the description 
with these words. There he leaves Him, seated on high, and 
there he contemplates Him, and turns the thoughts of his readers 
to Him in all the subsequent discourse. The place is at the right 
hand of the Majesty, which is a periphrasis for the right hand of 
God.^ The right hand signifies the post of confidence and execu- 
tive authority and power. 

In all this representation of the Son that treats so particularly 
of His relation to God, the Author does not use the name Father 
for God. This, moreover, characterizes the entire epistle. Through- 
out the epistle the Father (for the Author abundantly expresses 
the fact that He is a Father) is always called God, when the 
relation of the Father and the Son is involved. Only in xii. 7, 
9, does the Author call God Father, and that is in relation to us, 
His children. 

' Comp. iii. 1. 2 Comp. Del. 


The Apostle's representation of the greatness of the final reve- 
lation issues in the exaltation of the Son who is the agent of it. 
This he has done, without express comparison, by stating what 
the Son is, and simply distinguishing between former revelations 
and their agents, and the present revelation and its agent. But 
he aims to show that the present is a greater and better revela- 
tion, and to prepare the way for showing that it supersedes the 
old. This involves comparison. He means to do it by com- 
parison of the final agent with all preceding agents. What has 
been stated so far has been with a view to this, and he proceeds 
without pause to that comparison : 

Ver. 4. Having become by so much better than the angels as 
he hath inherited a more excellent name than they. 

The suddenness with which this subject of comparison, 
viz., the angels, is introduced occasions some perplexity. But 
in the sequel we notice that Moses (ii. 2), and Melchizedek 
(v. 10 ; vi. 20), and Levi (vii. 5), are in turn brought into 
comparison with as little preface. We shall also have occasion 
to notice in the Author a similar manner of introducing; turns of 
thought, and obvious applications, and conclusions from state- 
ments made. We may therefore treat this as a matter of style 
with him. The fitness of the present comparison is obvious 
enough.^ The Hebrews believed that angels were the agents of 
revelation, and especially that they were concerned in the giving 
of the law by Moses.^ The Apostle refers to this belief as some- 
thing that must of course suggest itself to the minds of his 
readers when the subject the agents of revelation came up. They 
would admit that Christ was greater than the prophets. But 
how about the angels ? Angels must naturally be the chief sub- 
jects of comparison, because they have precedence of other agents, 
both as prior to and greater than all others, Christ alone excepted. 
INIoreover, they too, as Christ himself, were agents that came from 
heaven to speak to men for God. Christ is better than angels. 
The Apostle says he became better. We are to understand this 
as expressing more than simply that Christ is better. He became 

^ Comp. Alford, ^ See i. 14; ii. 2 ; comp. Gal. iii. 19. 


better, which denotes something historical in the common sense of 
things that come to pass. But this becoming does not refer to the 
session " at the right hand of the Majesty," as if that constituted 
the Son better.^ Nor are we to compare ^ what is said, ii, 8, 9, 
as if there we have expressed how Christ was for a while lower 
than angels, and here, as there, we have the antithesis of that.^ 
As has been noted (at ver. 3), we have no expression or sugges- 
tion in our context of the humiliation of Christ. Every word is 
in the direction of displaying His absolute greatness with compari- 
son only of what is less great. Nor is it expressed here that 
He obtained this greatness through His incarnation.* Our verse 
itself defines the becoming better by referring it to the name of 
this better agent of revelation. The name was before the minis- 
try of revelation. The becoming belongs in the same plane as 
the " appointing heir of all things " and " making the ages." As 
by : became better is meant something in the common historical 
sense, it can intimate only what the Son became to us, by coming 
as the agent of revelation, as the angels became to us agents of 
revelation. The angels did not become angelic in nature and 
dignity and name by so coming ; nor did the Sou inherit His 
name by what He did.* The angels were good as agents of reve- 
lation ; the Son became to us better as such an agent. Thus the 
comparison expressed by : became better does not touch the diifer- 
ence between Christ and the angels in themselves considered, but 
as they are related to us. 

The Apostle expresses the superiority in question by : better. 
This touches the key-note of the whole epistle.® All through it 
we are held to this comparison by the expressions : " better hope," 
vii. 19; "better covenant," "better promises," viii. 6; "better 
sacrifices," ix. 23 ; " better possession," x. 34 ; " better resurrec- 
tion," xi. 35. Better than what preceded, and better for us (xi. 
40) than for those before us, is the notion intended by the com- 

^ Against Davidson. '^ As Liin., Del., Alford, von Hof., etc. 

^ See below on ii. 7. * Against Angus. 

^ If Phil. ii. 9, 10, be urged, let it be noticed that the name is another ; it is a 
given name ; it was also Christ's name before his exaltation. 
^ Comp. Farrar, Chap, xviii., § 1. 


parisou. For a notion so distinctive we may venture to coin a 
word, and shall hereafter use for this the word betterness. 
Wherein the betterness consists is to be a chief part of the 
showing of this epistle. For the present, the aim is to produce 
the conviction that it must be a better revelation. The method 
is aprioral, establishing the betterness of the agent and deducing 
it from that. 

In proof of this betterness Paul appeals to a name : He hath 
inherited a more excellent name than they. We may call this a 
characteristically Hebrew way of arguing. Hebrews attached 
more importance to a name than we do. With them names were 
things ; and among them it would never become a proverb to say : 
"What is there in a name?" What is more important, it is 
Scriptural to reason in this way ; especially of all names given 
by God. What God calls a thing that it is. His calling it so 
constitutes it such, or reveals its true nature. The latter is 
exemplified in the case before us. For the Apostle says, the 
son has inherited His name. The perfect tense refers this matter 
to a different plane from that to which are to be referred the 
events " appointed " (ver. 2) and " became " (ver. 4), expressed in 
the aorist. He was already a Son when the appointing and becom- 
ing occurred. The perfect tense expresses that He received the 
name Son, and still has it, and by inheritance, and that without 
expressing when. In this is implied an unexpressed contrast 
with respect to the angels, who have their name otherwise, i. e., 
God made them what they are by giving them their names. It 
is in effect, however, the substance involved in these names that 
is contrasted, and our way of thinking compels us to think of 
this. The only Son of God, appointed heir of all things by 
God, is a better agent to speak to us for God than the angels, 
because He is more excellent in Himself and in His relations to 
God than angels. Moreover, the word diaipnpwzspov means, not 
only an excellence greater in degree, but also different in kind. 

The Apostle proceeds to illustrate the superior excellence of 
the Son implied in His name, and the illustration continues 
through the next ten verses to the end of the present chapter. 
Such extended amplification of this theme is due to the import- 



ance of the subjects compared, viz., the Son and the angels. 
The superiority of the Sou to them is less obvious than His 
superiority to the prophets. Moreover, establishing this, the 
Apostle establishes the superiority of this final agent of revela- 
tion to all others, and consequently, and in a universal way, the 
betterness of what he reveals. 

The Author's method of establishing this superiority is by 
illustration. He aims to make an impression of the difference 
between one that is called the Son of God, and angels. His 
manner is dramatic. He introduces God as speaking to the one 
and of the others. There is admirable skill in this, inasmuch as 
it illustrates the comparative virtue of the different agents in 
precisely the respect in which one might be a better agent than 
the others to speak for God to us, viz. : the intimacy, confidence 
and authority the agent enjoys with God. The language we are 
to consider is not an appeal to Old Testament scripture for proof of 
the statement that the Son is superior to angels. The proof of 
that is in the more excellent name itself, or, in other words, in 
the fact itself that one is the Son and the others are angels. 
Moreover, the Old Testament language that follows does not 
obviously prove this, unless it be ver. 6, and that is not certainly 
genuine Old Testament scripture, but most likely the contrary. 
Nor is the language we are to consider an appeal to Old Testa- 
ment scripture to prove that God does call Christ a Son. For, 
it must be said again, much of the following language, interpreted 
according to the original context, furnishes no such proof. Fur- 
thermore, the thing to be proved, according to the statement of 
ver. 4, would be, not that God calls Christ a Son, but that Christ 
has inherited that name, and on this point the following language, 
considered as scripture proof, has no bearing whatever. 

Recalling the reflections above, under ver. 3, respecting the 
doctrinal status of the readers of this epistle, we see that Chris- 
tians who embraced and confessed the doctrinal items of verses 
2, 3, needed indeed no proof that God called Christ His Son, or 
that the name Son of God was intrinsically more excellent than 
that of angels. We notice, in fact, among those doctrinal items 
two, viz. : that Christ is " the effulgence of God's glory, and the 

i. 5-13.] BY god's address and action. 15 

impress of God's substance," which, as the history of Christian 
doctrine shows, required establishing, as articles of faith, nuich 
more than that God called Christ His Son, or that the Son is 
greater than the angels. Yet, though the readers of this epistle 
needed no proof of these fundamental doctrines, they may have 
failed to represent to themselves all that was involved in them. 
Especially they may have failed to represent to themselves how 
much better a Son must be as an agent that spoke for God than 
all the agents that preceded Him, and, consequently, how much 
better must be the things that He revealed. If the following 
verses (5-13) were purely the Author's own language, every reader 
W'Ould, without difficulty, understand him to aim at producing the 
impression of this. He would, in a dramatic way, be represent- 
ing the intimate and confidential relations of the Son with God, 
and God's paternal purpose of clothing Him with honor and 
royal glory in the world, and on the other hand, he would 
represent the humble and distant relations of the angels to God, 
and how they are destined themselves to render homage to the 
Son. He would do it impressively by introducing God Himself 
as actor and speaker, and by marking the difference of His 
manner to the Son and to the angels. And the thing would be 
admirably done. It is not the less so because the Author 
makes the representation in scripture language. This is, in 
fact, precisely what we might suppose a skillful writer would 
do. • Any other language would be unbecoming. We may 
add, were all the following language like that of ver. 6, which 
most commentators will agree is not genuine scripture at all, 
few would ever have thought of regarding our vers. 5-13 in any 
other light than that now presented.' 

^ An explanation that departs so widely, as the above view docs, from all 
traditional interj)retations of our passage will, of course, be challenged, and 
must offer sometliing more in its defence than what is said above. Its justifi- 
cation must appear in its reasonableness wlien fully ap})lied. Tiie rejection 
of the traditional view, that regards the language of vers. 5-1,3 as an appeal to 
Old Testament scripture to prove a statement of ver. 4, must be diflcrently 
justified. It is, however, justification enough that the view in question is 
attended with many insuperable difficulties. The hard and honest labors 
of the best expositors have only served to make this more manifest; and 


With this view of the passage, its explanation becomes simple. 
The force of it does not lie in the authority of Old Testament 
scripture, but in the reasonableness of what the language itself 
represents, according to the doctrinal status of the readers. We 
have, then, little to do with the sense and particularly the appli- 
cation of that language in its original context. Of course, much 
of that meaning must cling to the expressions as used here. But 

few passages of scripture have had as much work of that sort expended on 

The following are some of the more obvious and striking difficulties : 
Take any statement that may be formulated from the language of ver. 4, and 
much of the scripture quotations of vers. 5-13, considered as proof, is prima 
facie, partly mal-apropox, and the statement a non-seqnitur, and they are 
partly not scripture at all. It is only by labored exegesis of the quotations, 
aijd of their context, and by invention of special canons of Old Testament 
interpretation to suit the emergencies of the case, that the point and fitness 
of the Author's appeal to scripture can be made to appear. As might be sup- 
posed, there is great falling out among expositors in this labor. 

In ver. 5 the quotations are from Ps. ii. 7 and 2 Sam. vii. 14 (1 Chr. xvii. 13). 
It has been proved that ancient Jewish Rabbis regarded Ps. ii. as Messianic, 
and that later Jewish authorities only took opposite ground on account of the 
advantage the Messianic view gave Christians over them. But it does not 
appear that Jews ever understood that my son in these passages could refer 
only to the Messiah. It is obvious, in fact, that the language in 2 Sam. vii. 14 
applies primarily to Solomon. Moreover, it is well known that angels, and 
even men are not unfrequently in the Old Testament called sons of God 
(comp., as to angels, Ps. xxix. 1 ; Ixxxix. 7). Hence the canon of interpre- 
tation is devised : " That nowhere in the Old Testament is any single man or 
angel called ' Son of God,' or * the Son of God,' or simply ' the Son.' It is 
therefore true that this name 13 or vl6q does appertain to the exalted Jesus, as 
a personal name, in a way that it does not to any other being from among 
angels or men" (Del). But this canon would never have been thought of 
except for the exigencies of the present scripture regarded in the light we are 
considering. And it is right in the face of the fact that God does call Solomon 
His son. Certainly He does so to the apprehension of unsophisticated readers 
of 2 Sam. vii. 14. It seems that, were this a mistaken apprehension, our 
Author would be called on to show by what canon " My son " was to be under- 
stood of Christ. But so far is the Author from having such a notion, that he 
himself, in ver. 6, calls Christ the First-bom, which implies other sons, and at 
ii. 10 he calls the redeemed: "sons," {noTOicyvq vloi%) i. e., sons of God. Each is 
therefore a son, and God may say to each : " My son." How could the Author 
so write just after such a passage as our vers. 5-13, if the aim of that passage 
were to prove that only Christ has that more excellent name. If " no scrip- 


it must be a plain meaning, lying on the surface and familiar to 
the readers. This, however, is nothing more than what is true 
of all language. That some of the language is confessedly Mes- 
sianic need not mislead us to suppose that all is so, or even that 
the Author so regarded all of it. If he used scripture language 
at all in the way represented above, he would more likely than 
not weave in some that was familiarly known to be IVIcssianic. 

ture is of private interpretation," much more is it unallowable to warp all 
scripture to suit the interpretation of a unique passage. 

In ver. 6 the language quoted is not found in the Hebrew scripture at all. 
The words are found only in the LXX., at Deut. xxxii. 43. The only other 
passage tliat might be claimed as the possible source of the quotation is 
Ps. xcvii. 7, which reads: "Worship Him all ye gods" (Elohim), where the 
LXX. have " angels" instead of " gods." But no one would tliink of the latter 
but for the textual difficulty of the former passage. Besides, in both passages, 
it is Jehovah that is to be worshiped. To meet this difficulty another canon 
is devised : " The writer proceeds on the general principle, that whenever 
the Old Testament speaks of a final and decisive advent and manifestation of 
Jehovah in the power and glory of the final judgment and salvation ; when- 
ever it speaks of a revelation of Jehovah which shall be tlie antitype and 
fulfillment of that typical one in the Mosaic time, of a self-presentation of 
Jehovah as manifested King over His own kingdom, there Jehovah is equiva- 
lent to Jesus Christ, for Christ is Jehovah manifested in the flesh," etc. (Del.) 
Here again a canon is invented for the special case, and a very intricate one. 
"What havoc we would make with the interpretation of the Old Testament by 
the application of such a canon! And why may not we use it as well as the 
Author of this epistle? With von Hofmann {Comm. on ver. 6) we may 
exclaim: "If Jehovah is really always Christ, what remains of God tlie 
Father?" This view of the Author's fashion of reading his Old Testament, 
though reverent, cannot be regarded as practically better tlinn Bleek's dishon- 
oring explanation of this and other scriptural quotations, who ascribes the 
discrepancies to the Author's ignorance of the Hebrew text of the Old Testa- 
ment, and acquaintance with only the Greek version of the LXX., which, e. g., 
at ver. 10, led him to suppose that Christ is meant wherever he read Kvpio^ — 
"Lord," in the LXX., because Christ was commonly so called in the Author's 
day. See the same view reiterated by Toy in his Quotadom in the New 
Testament, 1884. 

In vers. 8, 9, the words quoted from Ps. xlv. 6, 7, are not the words of God 
to another, but the words of the Psalmist addressed to the object of his worship, 
whom he entitles Elohim = God. Moreover, the words are one undivided 
passage, whereas, in our vers. 8, 9, they appear as two quotations conjoined by 
and, for which a special reason is again thought out, which we may omit to 
notice. But for the first difficulty, viz., that the Psalmist addresses God, and 

18 THE author's own THOUGHTS [i. 5-13. 

It may help to familiarize our minds with the method used by 
our Author in this dramatic passage, if we compare similar 
examples of representing dramatically such personal relations as 
are here illustrated. Such examples appear in the account of 
healing the centurion's servant, Matt. viii. 8 sqq., Luke vii. 8 
sqq. (note the " I say " of the centurion and the he saith of our 
vers. 6, 7). Compare also the parable of the Servant (Luke xvii. 

not God is the speaker, we have imputed to our Author still another canon of 
interpretation : "That he regards the whole contents of scripture as being the 
word and utterance of God Himself" (Del.), and this may apply to all the 
instances of he saith in our passage vers. 5-13. This canon has a broader 
application to our whole epistle, and not only to the special case, and differs 
thus from the preceding canons. But it is in the face of the Old Testament 
language, quoted ii. 6, 12 ; iii. 7 ; iv. 7. And, moreover, when Delitzsch comes 
to explain ii. 12, we find him resort to similar invention to explain hoAV what 
was said by Isaiah of his own children may be understood as the Messiah 

In vers. 10-12, the words as found in Ps. cii. 25-27 cannot, without violence, 
be construed as having been said to Christ, or with reference to Him. They 
are the words of an afflicted soul complaining and appealing to his God. But 
to serve the present case, we are called on to apply again the canon just given, 
and the Psalm must be made Messianic by understanding that : " The advent 
(napovaia) of Jehovah, for which the Psalmist is praying, as one who carried 
in his heart the burden of the afflictions of Jerusalem and his exiled people, 
is an ' advent ' already vouchsafed in the first coming of the Lord Jesus, 
though its glorious completion is still waited for." (Del.) According to 
that, what Psalm may not be Messianic ? 

Such are some of the glaring and insuperable difficulties that attend the 
common view, that in our vers. 5-13 our Author adduces Old Testament scrip- 
ture as authority for some statement of ver. 4. If we were to go into labored 
exposition of the passages in question, in the way that Delitzsch, and von 
Hofmann do, who may be taken as the best examples of thorough work of the 
sort, we would be confronted with many more difficulties, and quite as great. 
And the view in question involves the necessity of such exegesis, with all its 
hardships, especially this hardship, that the results will certainly be as numer- 
ously different as the expositors. Moreover (and this alone seems decisive), it 
is manifest, that, did the Author use the scripture in question with the intent 
that this view imputes to him, he must have been as obscure to his first readers 
as to ourselves, and could only have been explained to them by a similar 

We must conclude, therefore, that the error is in the idew-point itself, viz., in 
the assumption that the Author appeals to the Old Testament scripture as 
proof. It is better, with von Hofmann {Schriftbeweiss, I. p. 150, and Comm. 


7-9) ; and especially the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke xv. 
17 sqq.) 

In illustration, then, of the greater excellence of Christ as 
betokened by that inherited name Son, the Author appeals first 
to the obvious fact, not that angels are never called sons of God, 
which is not a fact,' but that angels are nowhere addressed in 
that affectionate way that a father uses toward a son, and which 
is proper where that relation actually exists. This the Author 
expresses in a way that assumes that the fact is self-evident, viz., 
he puts it interrogatively, in a way that anticipates but one reply .^ 

Ver. 5. For unto which of the angels said he at any time : Thou 
art my Son, this day have I begotten thee ? And again : I will be 

071 Hebrews, p. 70,) to take another view. In his Schrifth., he says: "For 
us, all the Apostolic statements concerning Christ's being before the world 
and above the world, have their ground in Christ's statements concerning 
Himself, that He proceeded from God and came into the world, and again left 
the world and went to God. Herewith is explained the use that we see made 
of that passage in the Tsalms [Ps. cii. 25-27, in our ver. 10 sqq.], which is 
not intended by the Author as proof of what he said of Jesus, but, like all the 
previously quoted passages, only serves the purpose of saying in scripture 
language what is true of Christ according to the Author's belief, and the belief 
he assumes in his readers." 

The position we must adopt more absolutely than von Hofmann does. For 
he adds : " If Christ was before the world with God, then what is said of God 
as being before the world and above the world applies to Him." This, then, 
leads him to seek in the scripture passages quoted, and as understood in their 
original context, what is the truth that is applicable to Christ ; which necessi- 
tates as much exegesis of the Old Testament scripture as the common view, 
with just the same sort of attending difficulties, if not as many. However 
skillfully he does his work, it certainly produces the conviction that our Author 
used scripture in a way quite unfamiliar to his readers, and that it was impos- 
sible for them to understand him. 

We may add the reflection, that our verses 4-13 and ii. .5 sqq., have a most 
important bearing on the subject of the Christology of the Old Testament, and 
that the view-point we have been considering, with tlie principles of Old 
Testament interpretation it has originated, has done more to introduce confu- 
sion into that sulject than any other thing. On other examples of similar use 
of scripture language, by the Apostle, viz., ii. 12, 13; x. 5, 38, see in loc. 

^ Comp. Ps. xxix. 1 ; Ixxxix. 6, where the words rendered "ye mighty," 
(marg. : "sons of the mighty"), are correctly rendered by the LXX. "sons of 
God," and by these are meant angels. 

* Comp. the exclamation of Peter (John vi. 28), " To whom shall we go," etc. 


to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son ? The language used 
here is from Ps. ii. 7 aud 2 Sam. vii. 14 (1 Chr. xxii. 13), and 
was familiarly understood to be Messianic. It is this fact that 
warrants the Author in using it in the self-evidential way he 
does. He repeats this manner of expression at ver. 13, in 
employing other language that was still more familiarly regarded 
as Messianic. The force of the appeal in our ver. 5, lies in the 
truth that God does so address the Messiah. With this the 
Apostle contrasts the representation of God's manner of address- 
ing the angels : 

Ver. 6. "But, when he shall have again brought in the first- 
born into the [inhabited] world, he says: and let aU the angels of 
God worship him. The language of ver. 6, a: But when . . . 
world is an indirect statement in the Author's own words. The 
language of ver 6, 6 : And let . . . worship him is from Deut. 
xxxii. 43, as the words are found in the LXX., but not in the 
Hebrew text. There is nothing in the original context of Moses' 
sons' that refers to the occasion to which the Author refers in 
ver. 6, a: nor does the exhortation there "to worship" propose 
any other object than God Himself. The occasion to which our 
Author refers is the second coming of Christ.^ And this must 
explain why and in what sense he writes the first-born instead of 
" the Son." He that came into the world as the Son, will return 
to it as the First-born, because in the meanwhile there will have 
been born after Him " many sons,"^ of which ii. 10-13 treats 
more fully. The world to which the Son will be introduced is 
here called the inhabited world (oixuu/iiwY^)^^ and is mentioned 
again ii. 5, as " the world to come," and must mean what is 
amplified there, viz., a condition of the earth and its inhabitants 
wherein all things are to be subjected to Christ who has been 
crowned with honor aud glory (ii. 7-9). On this occasion, as 
the Apostle represents, God says : and let all the angels of God 
worship him. He includes the and of the original passage in the 
LXX., because he would signify that, in addition to the worship 
that awaits the returning First-born on the part of the inhabitants 

^ Del., Alford, von Hof., etc. ^ So lun. and von Hof. ^ Contrast x. 5. 

i. 5-13.] WHEX HE COMES AGAIN. 21 

of the earth, the angels also shall be called on to worship Ilini.' 
It seems inexplicable, at first, why the Author should brhig in 
this reference to the second coming of Christ so abruptly. But 
we see that his main thought is to express the inferiority of the 
angels to the Son, and nothing could do so better thau to repre- 
sent them as worshipping Him. There is no scriptural intimation 
of their doing so except that which the Apostle elaborates at ii. 
5-9. The fulfillment is to be when He comes again. The point 
with the Author is to state, in contrast with ver. 5 (/. c. in con- 
trast with what God does not say to angels), what He does say of 
them, viz., let them all worship the First-born ; and this necessi- 
tates his saying when. Thus the clause : when he shall have 
again brought. . . world, is parenthetical. The truth that the 
angels shall be subject to the Son does not rest on the scriptural 
language that is quoted, which, as a proof-text, has no such 
application. The readers of this epistle required no proof that 
angels would worship the returning First-born. That was part 
of the accepted belief.^ It is, however, the Apostle's aim to rep- 
resent not only the inferiority of the angels to Christ, but also 
God's manner of treating them as inferior Thus he represents 
God as saying to them, or rather of them (which is a still more 
distant manner) : and let aU the angels of God worship him. 
The Apostle has no need of scripture proof that God says this. 
If the angels are to worship Christ, it will be because God says : 
let them worship Him. But wishing to represent this scriptural 
thought iu a certain manner, he uses in a free way scriptural 
language that suits his purpose. We shall do better justice to 
the Apostle's manner of using scripture language when we shall 
have noticed how (e.g., at ii. 6 sqq. ; iii. 7 sqq.) he makes it plain 
enough when he means to appeal to Old Testament scripture as 
authority, and with what exactness he uses it then, and how 
independently of the version of the LXX. 

We may add here the reflection that, with the view we have 
taken, the Apostle's use, in the present instance, of language that 
criticism discovers to be doubtful, if not spurious, involves no 

1 So von Hof. * Comp. 2 Thess. i. 7 ; 1 Pet. iii. 22. 

22 ANGELS, WINDS AND FIEE. [i. 5-13. 

important question touching what is genuine scripture. He 
simply uses scriptural language in the form familiar to his readers 
to express his own thought ; just as many intelligent Christians 
now will continue to use the doxology of the Lord's Prayer 
(Matt. vi. 13), though fully aware that it is not genuine. 

Extending his illustration, the Apostle contrasts God's man- 
ner towards angels and towards Christ in two more representa- 
tions ; towards angels (ver. 7) as ministers that God uses in 
administering the affairs of the material world, and who are such 
as He makes them for the use required ; towards the Son (vers. 
8-12) as the occupant of a throne that is God's throne, adminis- 
tering a moral world where He is to reign everlastingly with a 
fulness of joy that is the reward of His righteous sway. 

Ver. 7. And of the angels, indeed, he saith : Who maketh his 
angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire ; 8. but of the Son 
[he saitli] : Thy throne, God, is forever and ever, and : The sceptre 
of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. 9. Thou lovedst 
righteousness and hatedst iniquity, therefore, God, thy God 
anointed thee with oil of gladness above thy fellows, lo. And : 
thou in the beginning. Lord, didst found the earth, and works of 
thy hands are the heavens ; n. they shall perish, but thou con- 
tinuest; and as a garment they all shall wax old, 12. and as a 
mantle thou wilt change^ them, and Hhey shall be changed, but 
thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. 

The language used here is culled out of several passages of 
the Old Testament. That of ver. 7 from Ps. civ. 4. That of 
ver. 8 from Ps. xlv. 6, 7. That of ver. 10-12 from Ps. cii. 
25-27. The freedom of this selection ; the fact that it is all 
from the Psalms, i. e., the most familiar scripture ; the absence 
of express reference to it as authority, such as we find ii. 6 ; iii. 
7 ; the liberty the Author takes with the language (e. g., ascrib- 
ins: to God what is the lang-uao-e of the Psalmist, and in ver. 8 
making two expressions of one by repeating the and of ver. 7) ; 
and his using language of Ps. cii., that is not Messianic, precisely 
as he does the clearly Messianic language of Ps. xlv. ; all these 
circumstances constrain us to understand that the Author clothes 

' Or fold np, f A/fe<? W. and H. 

' W. and H., add wf l/idTiov=as a garment. 


his own thought in scripture language. It is his aim again, both 
to point to the actual diiFerence between the Son and the angels, 
and to express it (dramatically) so as to represent a difference of 
God's manner towards each. 

In reference to the angels (ver. 7), he represents God speaking 
of them, distantly, in the familiar words of the Psalm ; that 
they are sometimes winds, sometimes a flaming fire, sometimes 
messengers (which is the meaning of the word angels), sometimes 
ministers. By this is not meant that angels are only material, 
impersonal things, or that such things as winds and fire are 
angels, as well as that personal spirits are such. AVe must sup- 
pose that the Apostle reflects here what the Jews believed : " that 
God gives His angels, when employing them to carry out His 
purposes in the sensible universe, elemental bodies^ as it were, of 
wind and fire, as ' media ' of manifestation." ^ By this he makes 
prominent the characteristics of inferiority and mutability in the 

The Apostle follows this with the representation of the 
sovereignty and immutable greatness of the Son (vers. 8-12), and 
of how God addresses Him as His peer. The period to which 
such a representation refers must be the same as stated ver. 6, 
viz., Christ's second coming. If the doctrinal statements of vers. 
2, 3 were the accepted belief of his readers, the representation 
of our vers. 8-12, are the logical consequences of them, that need 
only the expression to command assent. Any other than scrip- 
ture language to express them would be unworthy the theme. 
The Apostle naturally uses the scripture language most familiar 
to his readers, viz., the version of the LXX. He writes so well 
that comment is needless. It is obvious, moreover, that such 
quoted language does not demand, or even permit, that we should 
weigh each expression with the exactness we must observe in 
considering the Author's own language. In expressing one's self 
in quoted language, one " takes it in the block." 

But it is worthy of notice that in ver. 8, the Apostle does not 
hesitate to write unequivocally God, as addressed to the Son, 

^ Del. Comp., Liin., and references in both to Schoetgen and Wetstein. 

24 THE SON DIVINE. [i. 5-13. 

in the vocative. And, as he weaves the quoted language 
together, this so involves ver. 9 that the same constTuctiou must 
be retained there, and we must read : God, thy God. The 
application in vers. 10-12 of language originally addressed to God 
is in the same spirit. All of vers. 8-12, therefore, are most 
unequivocal Apostolic testimony to the divinity of Jesus Christ. 
And this is additional reason for taking the doctrinal statements 
of vers. 2, 3, as we have done, in the most absolute sense. More- 
over, as Apostolic testimony to this doctrine, it is far more exact 
and irrefragable in proof of the divinity of Jesus Christ, when 
we see that the thought, though clothed in scripture language, is 
really that of the Apostle himself. For if we receive it as Old 
Testament language, intended to adduce Old Testament thought, 
in proof of some statement of ver. 4, we find everything depends 
on whether the language in the original context really has the 
meaning or application that the Apostle thinks it has. Then 
everything that may be justly urged against the words (e. g., 
Ps. cii. 25-27) having such an application tells against the pre- 
sent testimony to the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus Christ. 
Just in proportion as one feels that the Author mistakes that 
application, he will feel that the Author may be charged with 
having mistaken the true doctrine of Christ. 

The Apostle adds one more illustration. Using language 
of Ps. ex. 1, which was familiarly known to be Messianic, in- 
deed more femiliarly known in this way than any other passage 
of scripture, he puts the thought interrogatively, in that self- 
evidential way noticed in ver. 5. 

Ver. 13. But of which of the angels hath he said at any time : 
Sit thou on my right hand till I make thine enemies the footstool 
of thy feet? 

The question anticipates only one answer, viz. a negative ; and 
this negative demands attention to the contrary affirmative, that 
God did say this to the Son. He says it now. For now Christ 
is at the right hand of the Majesty on high (ver. 3). 

The Apostle marks a diiference in this appeal, compared with 
those that have preceded, not only by the interrogative affirma- 
tion, but also by the use of the perfect tense : He hath said, 


which denotes, not only that the thing was said, but also that its 
effect continues. " No Psalm is so often referred to in the New 
Testament as this ex.; being quoted ten times: Matt. xxii. 
41-46 ; Mark xii. 35-37 ; Luke xx. 41-44 ; Acts ii. 34 ; 1 
Cor. XV. 25 ; Heb. i. 13 ; x. 13 (all quotations of Ps. ex. 1) ; 
and further, Heb. v. 6 ; vii. 17, 21 (quotations from Ps. ex. 4). 
Moreover, all those passages in the New Testament which speak 
of our Lord's session at the right hand of God have an intimate 
relation to this Psalm, which first gives this, its scriptural name, 
to that great divine fact of the new dispensation." ^ 

To this extended illustration of the " more excellent name " 
(ver. 4), the Apostle adds the statement of what is the place of 
angels. This he does in that interrogative and self-evidential 
way that he has twice used already (vers. 5, 13), and that we 
begin to notice is a marked trait of his style of composition. 

Ver. 14. Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth for a 
service on account of them that should inherit salvation ? 

In affirming what he does here of angels with such emphasis 
on : aU, it is obvious that other spheres of activity for them are 
not excluded ; for the statement of ver. 7 precludes that notion, 
as it also requires us to think that angels do other things also 
than what is here described. Thus the Apostle can neither mean, 
that all angels are at the same time sent forth, or attending as 
ready to be sent forth, for the service mentioned here, nor that 
this sort of service is exclusively the object of their ministr>\ 
Moreover, it is improbable that the representation of our ver. 14 
is intended as an additional illustration of the inferiority of 
angels to the Son. Such, indeed, is the common interpretation. 
But we must not overlook the fact that what is stated is in reality 
no proof of their inferiority, at least in the sense commonly sup- 
posed. For if we understand our ver. 14 to represent that the 
vocation of angels is to minister to those whom Christ saves, that 
Ls no more than Christ Himself did when on earth, and than He 
continues to do when ascended to heaven." He indeed chiefly 
excels the angels in respect to us by ministering to the heirs of 
salvation more effectually. This ministry, then, can afford no 

1 j)gi ' Comp. viii. 2. 

26 NOT OF SALVATION [i. 14. 

ground of contrast between Christ and angels, but only a com- 
parison of the degree of it. But even were the present statement 
to point to a service of angels that some way marked their humbler 
degree, we have already noticed that the text before us precludes 
our thinking that is all the service they perform. So that, humble 
as this service might be compared with what is represented of the 
Son, vers. 10-13, they have other services that are truly exalted. 
In short, we suppose the point of ver. 14 has been generally 
misapprehended. The Apostle's present representation relates 
to angels as they are noticed in the present comparison, viz., as 
agents of revelation speaking for God. Comparison is intended ; 
but as it has been expressed at ver. 4. The Son is better for us 
as agent of revelation than the angels. How this is so has been 
expressed (vers. 5-13), by showing that the Son is the favorite, 
the confidant, the peer of God ; all of which the angels are not 
Now it is expressed by affirming what the angels are, that is, what 
they are as agents of revelation. The Apostle says, they are all of 
them such as he proceeds to describe, meaning that in this char- 
acter they have one function, and, because angels are many and 
mighty, their functions will be unerringly and certainly discharged. 
That the angels are ministering spirits has been expressed 
already ver. 7, where it has been stated (with a play on the word 
Tzveofia, using it literally) that God makes them winds and a flam- 
ing fire, and that as such they are His ministers. All these 
notions are to be brought forward and combined with the present 
statement. Thus, in our ver. 14, when the angels are called min- 
istering spirits, it is meant that they minister to God. Therefore, 
we are not to suppose the Apostle expresses here that they min- 
ister to the Son, as ver. 6, it is represented how they are to 
worship the Son. The latter event is referred to the future ; 
what is represented here is present {Blah — ar.oareXXdixeva ; " are " — 
"sent"). Nor may we suppose that the Apostle expresses that 
the angels minister to those to be saved, in a benignant sense. 
The expression of that notion requires a substantive of the person 
in the dative after the phrase eh dtaxoviav, " for a service." ^ 
(Comp. 1 Cor. xvi. 15.) 
^ Comp. Bleek. 


As ministering spirits serving God, and as a flame of fire/ the 
angels are sent forth, by which is meant what they are at present 
as charged with the execution of that word that they spoke as 
God's agents of revelation (ii. 2). These thoughts are resumed from 
ver. 7. What marks the progress of thought is the additional 
statement : on account of them that should afterwards inherit sal- 
vation. These words define the intent of the angelic ministry 
here referred to. On account of (ojri, with accusative) expresses 
nothing as to w^liat the service is, but only with reference to 
whom the service is done for God. Thus it is not expressed that 
they minister directly in the matter of salvation at all. What 
relation their service may have to salvation can only be inferred, 
as far as now expressed, from the revelation of which they are 
known to be the agents. This would lead us to think of the 
relation of the law of Moses to the grace of Jesus Christ.^ 
But in the context (ii. 2) we actually find expressed this antithesis 
between their ministry and salvation ; salvation is escape from 
the word spoken by angels. Thus the nearest interpretation of 
our ver. 14 is, that it intimates the same antithesis when it 
reminds the readers, that angels are now sent forth to do a ser- 
vice for God on account of those that are to inherit salvation. 

In Rom. iii. 25 we have a statement that is kindred to our 
present one, both in construction and thought : " Whom God 
set forth a propitiation ... to show His righteousness on account 
of the passing over of the sins done aforetime, in the forbearance 

of God. (ii? evdst^iv riy? duacofftjvrj'^ aurou Sid ty^v Tzdps/nv x. r. A.). 

As for construction, the dcd t. r.dpsfjiv has the same relation to the 

e;'? hdst^. that in our text the Std rohg iJ.iXh)VTa<i X. T. X. has to £^9 

diaxivAa'j. As for kindred thought, Rom. iii. 25 declares what the 
service of Christ was with reference to those that by transgres- 
sion had actually incurred the penalty of the law. Our text 
declares, mutatis mutandis, what is the service of angels, the 
ministers of the broken law, with reference to those that should 
afterward be saved. One representation is but the other in- 

With the notions thus identified agrees the expression : those 

» Comp. ix. 27 ; xii. 29. » John i. 17. 


that should or those ahout {ixiXhr^ra<;) to inherit salvation. This 
represents the service of the angels as antecedent to that revela- 
tion that promises salvation. In short, the Apostle intimates 
here what he clearly expresses Gal. iii. 19—24, which is the pas- 
sage most parallel to our context in reference to the doctrine of 
angels. There the ministry of angels is represented to be the 
communication of the law that " was added because of trans- 
gressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise hath 
been made ; " and that, " before faith came, we were kept in 
ward under the law, shut up unto the faith which should 
afterward be revealed (rrjv iiilXouffav ruanv aTur/.aXoff^yi^mi), so that 
the law hath been our tutor to bring us unto Christ, that we 
might be justified by faith." What the Apostle says, in Galatians, 
of the law, he here intimates of the angels through whom the law 
was ordained. What he says, in Galatians, of the faith that should 
afterward be revealed, he says here of those that were afterward 
to have the faith and so inherit salvation. In the one case he 
speaks abstractly of law and faith ; in the other he speaks con- 
cretely or personally of angels and saints. 

This, then, is what angels are as the agents of revelation that 
have spoken a word from God. They are ministering spirits 
representing the justice of that law that was spoken by them. 
Their service has respect to those that are to inherit salvation, but 
it is only as the law is said to do the same. The direction and 
effectiveness of that service find immediate expression in the 
closely connected words that follow (ii. 1-3), which interpret the 
sense in which our ver. 14 is said, and confirm the view now 

As with the present verse the Apostle concludes the con- 
trast between the Son and angels as agents of revelation from 
God, we may pause for some reflections on what appears. The 
statement of our ver. 14 might have been made in closest con- 
nection with ver. 4. Yet how much the thought that would 
thus have been expressed has gained by the representations that 
have intervened ! The angels have not been lowered in dignity. 
But the Son appears gloriously transcending them all as the inti- 
mate confidant and peer of God. God gives him a righteous 


kingdom that comprehends eartli and heaven, and is to be ever- 
lasting. In token of this he sits at God's riglit liand till the 
kingdom is established without an enemy to oppose him. All 
this makes him better as an agent of revelation to us than the 
angels, and the measure of that betterness is his more excellent 
name. And finally it appears, that this greater excellence is due 
to a distinction or difference as to quality in that service he 
undertakes as revealer, and the services of angels. The service 
of angels is as a flame of fire ; his is salvation from that. Thus, 
as we have seen, the "greater excellence" (ver. 4) expresses 
{piatpoprnTspov) something not only greater in degree but also dif- 
ferent in kind. It is this double excellence that makes the Son 
so much better than the angels as one to speak to us from God. 

Here, then, we may notice already the sharp edge of the wedge 
entered that is to divide between the old and the new dispensa- 
tions. By. successive blows the Apostle is about to drive it in 
further, till the division is complete. But before he drives it 
further, he pauses to give an admonition appropriate to the situ- 
ation as already presented. 

We may observe at this point, that we have already encountered 
in our epistle one of the many representations that breathe the 
distinctive spirit of the Apostle Paul's teaching. It has been 
quite the fashion of late to emphasize the differences between our 
Author and the recognized epistles of Paul. As a good repre- 
sentative, we may quote Farrar^ on a point regarding which we 
are now in a position to form an opinion of our own, and shall 
see still more clearly when we have examined the next following 
verses (ii. 1-4) : 

" To St. Paul, Judaism was represented by a law which 
enforced, by one universal menace, its impossible exactions ; it 
was a dispensation of wrath which revealed to man that he was 
naturally under the curse of God. Christianity, on the other 
hand, was represented by a deliverance, a reconciliation, a free 
grace, which men were enforced to seek as a refuge from a doom 
which their troubled conscience declared to be deserved. This 
epistle views the two religious under an aspect entirely different. 

^ Early days, etc. chap. xvi. 

30 Paul's spieit, or paul himself. [ii. 1. 

It sees in Judaism not so much a law as a system of worship, 
of which Christianity was the antitype and fulfillment. Both 
writers arrive at the same conclusion, but they do so by differ- 
ent routes, and from different premises. St. Paul represents 
Mosaism as a cancelled servitude ; this writer as an incomplete 
satisfaction." This representation, which runs on further than 
we care to quote, in ringing antitheses, is as little justified in 
general, as it is in the particular that falls under our notice in 
the present context. In speaking of the ministry of angels, we 
observe that our Author is really speaking of the law. At x. 28, 
dealing with the same subject, and reiterating, from the point of 
view there attained, the same admonition that we must next 
examine (ii. 1, 2), he exchanges the expression " the word spoken 
by angels " for " the law of Moses."^ He means in our context the 
same thing that is discoursed on in Romans and Galatians as the 
law of Moses. We may even adopt the language of the above 
quotation, as it characterizes Paul's manner of viewing the law and 
salvation, as the preface to the words of our Author that we are 
now to consider. " He represents the ministry of angels as one 
universal menace enforcing impossible exactions ; as a dis- 
pensation of wrath that revealed to the readers that they were 
under the curse of God. The ministry of Christ, on the other 
hand, is a salvation, a deliverance^ which the heirs of salvation 
are forced to seek as a refuge from a doom which their troubled 
consciences declare to be deserved." 

We are now to see why the Apostle has dwelt so fully on the 
superiority of the Son compared with the prophets, and especially 
with angels. It appears in the application he proceeds to make. 

II. 1. For this reason we must more abundantly give heed to 
the things that were heard, lest haply we drift away [from them.] 

The immediate reference of: for this reason, is to what has been 
represented i. 14. This is evident of itself as soon as we appre- 
hend the point of what is stated there, and detect, as we have 
done, its magnitude and the consequences involved. It is 
because all this has been missed that the reference of : " for this 

^ Comp. vii. 12, 19 ; x. 1. * Comp. ix. 12, 15, on Ivrpuaig and cnroXvTpuaig = 
" deliverance." 


reason " has usually been extended to all the foregoing context 
of chap, i., especially from ver. 4. By : the things that were 
heard, is meant the same that has been expressed by : " God 
spake unto us in his Son " (i. 2), denoting, however, that what 
was spoken has also been heard. The following ver. 3, with i. 
14, shows that the word of salvation is meant. For this the 
Apostle claims more abundant heed, and that as a necessity.' He 
says : we must ; and the first person plural means himself and 
readers and all concerned ; in other words, the Hebrews that 
were the special subjects of divine revelation, as is denoted by the 
same first person plural, i. 2. By : more abundantly, is denoted 
a comparison. But it is not more earnest heed than had been 
given to previous revelation ; ^ nor more than might have been 
needed had the present revelation come by an agent not superior 
to previous agents.^ There is progress in the thought to an 
additional motive for hearing, derived from what has been repre- 
sented of the service of angels. The meaning is : more abund- 
ant heed than might have been needful if the angels had not been 
charged with such a service. 

The present need of hearing well is enforced, in the first place, 
by the consideration : last haply we drift away from the things 
spoken. The advantage to be had from what was spoken might 
be forfeited by " drifting by " and missing the mark. And there 
was danger of making such a miss, unless one gave very great 
heed, and of failing of refuge from an impending storm " as a 
ship that in stress of weather fails to make its haven." * 

As his readers seemed little sensible, both of the danger of 
drifting by, and of the dreadful consequences, the Apostle pro- 
ceeds to impress on their minds the urgent need he has just 

Ver. 2. For if the word spoken through angels became stead- 
fast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just 
recompense of reward ; 3 a, how shall we escape, having neglected 
so great salvation? 

^ b(j)ei^tv, dint ohiir/ndonem. ; 6el, ii,rgev.i periculum. Bengel. 

* So Chrysostom, Pareus, etc. ' So riaiumond, de Wette, Liin., Del. and most. 

* Luther. 


The mention of the word spoken through angels shows plainly 
in what light the Apostle has instituted the comparison between 
the Son and them. It is, as we have assumed, because both are 
agents of a revelation from God. In pointing his admonition 
he describes the chief, or at least the characteristic traits of their 
agency in this matter, and this, be it noted, describes that service 
for which they are sent forth as stated i. 14. Indirectly, also, the 
description intimates what was the character of " the word 
spoken through angels." To begin with this latter thought, the 
Apostle intimat(»s of their word, that its chief characteristics were 
prohibitions and commands ; for this is implied in the expres- 
sions : transgressions and disobedience. Such was the chief char- 
acteristic of the law communicated by Moses at Sinai, which, as 
we have already noted, the Jews believed came through the 
agency of angels. Such, moreover, is the aspect in which the 
law is uniformly presented in the New Testament. The Apostle, 
also, in expressly stating that such " transgressions and disobe- 
dience received a just recompense of reward," and further on 
again (iii. 7 sqq.) by recurring evidently to the same fact, shows 
that he means the punitive judgments that were inflicted during 
the wanderings in the wilderness, and others like them. From 
all this it appears, that, as has been noted already, the Apostle 
means by " the word spoken through angels," the same law of 
Moses that is discoursed on in Romans and Galatians. The 
mention of punishment here, along with the word they spoke, inti- 
mates that the visitation of merited punishment is something with 
which the angels are charged ; that is, that having spoken the word, 
they are charged with executing it. This is the service on which 
" they are sent forth on account of them that are to inherit salva- 
tion." Not on account of these exclusively, of course ; but still 
on their account, in the same sense as the law which is on 
account of transgressors, is also a tutor to lead to Christ them 
that are to be saved. By calling the punishments a just recom- 
pense of reward (a full-sounding phrase, and a favorite one in 
this epistle and peculiar to it ; comp. x. 35 ; xi. 26), the Apos- 
tle describes them as given in full measure, and intimates that, as 
just (k'vdixov), they are inevitable, and the only thing to be looked 

ii. 2, 3 a.] salvation neglected : how escape. 


for from that quarter. The word tlicn spoken, he says, became 
steadfast. This means more than that it ivas steadfast, or that it 
became steadfast by reason of the way in which it was communi- 
cated, viz., through angels, such great authority. " It remained," 
says the Apostle, " in force and steadfast, as gradually appeared, 
in that it was not transgressed with impunity." ^ 

Having represented this most characteristic thing about the 
law of Moses, or, in other words, about the service of angels, 
the Apostle draws the inference in ver. 3. How shall we escape? 
he says. By this he does not intend a comparison of a minore 
ad majus,^ and the How is not equivalent to " How much more." 
At X. 20, and xii. 25, the Apostle makes this comparison, which has 
influenced most readers to understand him in the same way here. 
But the distinctness of his " How much more " used there is 
proof that he would have used the same expression here, had 
he meant the same comparison. But he says simply : How shall 
we escape. This How, i. e., " how is it possible," derives its force 
from the representation of ver. 2, which is its proper premise. 
The word spoken by angels, in other words, the law of Moses, 
being such as there described, presents only the notion of some- 
thing that condemns. Its force and steadfastness had appeared 
in punitive dispensations. How, when subjected only to that 
law, could they escape such visitations of its just recompense as 
had already been experienced ? How shall we escape, says the 
Apostle, with an emphasis on : we, that was peculiarly appropriate 
in a discourse of a Jew, directed exclusively to Jews that were 
under the law, and were the descendants of the very ones that 
had experienced the just punishments referred to. With refer- 
ence to " the word spoken by angels," then, the Author treats 
the situation of those that had only that revelation, as a state of 
condemnation, and that the one thing of interest remaining was, 
how to escape.^ It is this moves him, in the following clause, 

1 So von Hof. * Against Liin., Alford, Davidson, etc. 

3Comp. Gal. iii., 10 sqq., and Heb. ix. 15. This against Moulton, in the 
Handy Commentary, in loc, who, while owning this obvious interpretation 
says: In a different context these words might naturally mean this. Here, 
however, they mean something totally different. 



and all the present context (comp. i. 14), to refer to the word 
spoken by the Son under the name salvation. Such escape can 
only be by a salvation. That word, the Apostle affirms indi- 
rectly, brings salvation for this situation. The Apostle's question 
in full, is : How shall we escape having neglected so great salva- 
tion ? Having neglected, i. e., " after neglecting " (aorist participle), 
presents for consideration the situation after one has neglected, or 
in the words of ver. 1, after one has given so little heed to the 
things that were spoken as to have drifted by them and missed 
what they oflPer. The Author recurs to this thought again at iii. 
7-19 ; vi : 4-8, x. 26, 27, giving it a more intense expression, 
while at x. 28, 29 ; xii. 25, he repeats the warning of our vers. 2, 
3, in the intenser form of a " how much more," or of reasoning a 
minore ad majus} 

* As a side light to the Author's manner of pressing his subject on his Jewish 
readers, we may compare the manner of other inspired speakers in preaching 
the gospel to the same class, and to Paul's own manner elsewhere. A remark- 
able correspondence appears from this investigation, and one that justifies us 
in understanding that such was the one, characteristic way of approaching the Jews 
ivith the gospel. 

John Baptist, sounded the key-note when he said : " who hath warned you 
to flee from the wrath to come," Matt. iii. 7 ; Luke iii : 7. And he intimates 
plainly, that the wrath was then impending : " Even now is the axe laid unto 
the root of the trees ; " and, that, whether it would do its destroying work or 
not, depended on how they received the Messiah, whose forerunner he was : 
" whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly cleanse His threshing-floor ; 
and He will gather His wheat into the garner, but the chafl" He will burn up 
with unquenchable fire." This may be taken as the Baptist's own amplification 
of his briefer warning : " Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." 
Matt. iii. 2. 

When Jesus began to preach. He used the same brief warning, Matt. iii. 17, 
and with the same meaning. As He gradually amplifies the meaning of the 
warning, it appears that the impending judgment was that national calamity, 
viz., the rejection of the chosen people, of which the central and most appalling 
feature was the destruction of Jerusalem. This appears in the warning upon 
the occasion of Galilean's slain at their very sacrifices by Pilate, and of others 
crushed by the tower of Siloam, (Luke xiii. 1-5), where His words : " Except ye 
repent, ye shall all likewise perish," intimate, too truthfully, the horrors of the 
fall of Jerusalem, and the destruction that overtook the Jews in the temple 
itself, and in the very act of sacrifice. And the succeeding parable of the 
fig-tree explains the ground of the judgment. But it is in the closing days 
of His ministry, and in full view of His approaching death, by which, in 

ii. 2, 3 a.] when preached to Israelites. 35 

Paul says : so great salvation, wath double emphasis, viz., on 
the salvation, and the faet that it is so great. He has mentioned 
the salvation already, i. 14, and repeating the mention of it, he 
calls attention to its character : and such a salvation ! This leads 
him to describe it in a way to set forth its admirable character. 
In doing this, he points some contrasts that show its fitness to be 
a salvation from the word spoken by angels, and to illustrate how 
it (as a word spoken) is a better revelation than the word spoken 
by angels. Thus we have a transition from the previous 
aj^rioral argument that it must be a better revelation because of 
the better agent. 

Paul points to some outward traits that illustrates the admira- 
ble nature of " the word that was heard." 

Ver. 3. b. Which [salvation] having taken a beginning of 

rejecting Him, the Jews filled up the measure of their iniquity, that Christ 
predicts this judgment in the plainest language. This appears in the para- 
ble of the wicked husbandmen, and its sentence: "He will miserably destroy 
those miserable men," Matt. xxi. 41 ; and again in the parable of the mar- 
riage of the King's son ; " But the King was wroth ; and he sent his armies 
and destroyed those murderers, and burned their city," Matt. xxii. 7. And 
finally, in the discourse on the Mount of Olives, He describes the now inevi- 
table ruin with even the detail and graphic power of the historian. " Then 
shall be great tribulation," said He, "such as hath not been from the beginning 
of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be." Matt. xxiv. 21. 

With these words still ringing in their ears, the Apostles begin in their turn 
to preach the gospel ; and the first audience is the same, viz., the Jews. 
Instantly they take up the same warning, and press their hearers to accept 
deliverance by Christ, or expect their doom. It appears in the conclusion of 
Peters fii-st sermon ; and it is to be noted that he does it with appeal to the 
same prophetic scripture that the Author uses in our chap. i. 13, and which leads 
him up to the warning of our text, ii. 1-4 : " The Lord said unto my Lord, 
sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy 
feet. Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath 
made him both Lord and Christ, this .lesus whom ye crucified." Acts ii. 34- 
36. And when the Jewish multitude were thereupon " pricked in their 
heart," the point that gave anguish to their hearts was the approliension of 
divine judgment plainly foretold and richly merited ; merited not only by their 
rejection of Christ, l)ut by a long course of similar rebellion against (iod of 
which this was but the crowning act. Comp. Matt, xxiii. 29-36. And their 
anxious enquiry : What shall we do is equivalent to the : How shall we escape, 
of our text. 

The warning we are considering appears further on the same occasion in 

36 BY JOHN BAPTIST, JESUS, [ii. 3 h, 4. 

being spoken through the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them 
that heard ; 4. God bearing witness with them both by signs and 
wonders, and by manifold powers and distributions of the Holy 
Spirit according to his own will. 

In this mention of the form and manner of imparting the 
revelation through Christ, the Apostle reiterates that it Avas 
spoken by the Son. But as this thought has been sufficiently- 
elaborated, he mentions it now without emphasis, in order the 
more to emphasize the additional traits that he mentions. In 
the words before- us he calls Christ the Lord, a designation he 
uses only twice again in this epistle.^ To this, he may be 
influenced here by the representations he has just made, i. 10-12, 
wherein the Son appears addressed by that title. This reference 
greatly magnifies the importance of *' the things that were heard," 

Peter's words : " Save yourselves from this crooked generation," Acts iii. 40. 
A crooked generation is one doomed to divine wrath and destruction, (comp. 
Deut. xxxii. 5, 15-26). And such was that generation of the Jews. " Save 
yourselves," to Peter's hearers, meant salvation from that impending doom. 
And note again the correspondence of this expression to the : great salvation 
of our text. 

Again this warning of destruction appears in the second recorded sermon of 
Peter, Acts iii. 22 sqq., where, having quoted the language of Moses referring 
to Christ, he says : " And it shall be, that every soul, which shall not hearken 
to that propliet, shall be utterly destroyed from among the people." And let 
it be noted, that the judgment is represented as the same in kind as those that 
came upon Israel in the wilderness, and to which our Author appeals in our 
passage, and also makes other appeals further on in our epistle (comp. iii. 
7-19 ; vi. 4-8). 

This same warning is the key-note of Stephen's dying speech to the rulers 
of the Jews. It had been the burden of that powerful preaching that made 
him so obnoxious to them, as appears in the corrupt evidence of suborned 
witnesses who testified : " We have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth 
shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered 
unto us," Acts vi. 14. In his dying address itself, we have, what may be 
taken as an extended comment on the words of our passage : " The word 
spoken through angels became steadfast, and every transgression and disobe- 
dience received a just recompense of reward," as they are interpreted above. 
The climax of his address, when he was cut short by the wrath of his hearers. 
Acts vii. 51, 52, are almost a reiteration of the words of Christ, Matt, xxiii. 31-36, 
while ver. 53, " ye who received the law as it was ordained by angels, and 
kept it not," is as nearly like our verse 2. 

1 vii. 14 ; xiii. 20. 

3 h, 4.] STEPHEN, PETER, PAUL. 37 

seeing that the speaker was no less than the Lord that made earth 
and heaven. Or he may be influenced to use this title because he 
mentions Christ here in connection with His Apostles, and others 
whom He commissioned to preach the gospel, and such was the 
customary title. It may be proper to ascribe to both of these 
considerations their influence. 

But the peculiar phrase by which the Apostle expresses 
Christ's part in speaking the word of salvation challenges atten- 
tion. The salvation took a beginning of being spoken through 
the Lord. ISIark entitles his whole book : '' Beginning of the 
gospel of Jesus Christ." ^ Properly understood, this means : all 
that which he recounts was the beginning of the gospel. Luke, 
in the preface to his book of the gospel, calls it " a narrative con- 
cerning those matters delivered by those who from the beginning 

The mantle of Stephen fell on Saul of Tarsus, that held the mantels of those 
that stoned Stephen. In his first recorded sermon (and the only recorded 
sermon of Paul's to a purely Jewish audience), he enforces the offer of tlie 
gospel at the conclusion of his address in these words : " Beware, therefore, lest 
that come upon you, which is spoken in the prophets ; Behold, ye despisers, 
and wonder and perish ; for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall 
in nowise believe, if we declare it unto you." Acts xiii. 40, 41 . In these words 
we find a close correspondence to our passage, and the cognate, x. 26-31, even to 
the reference of the " therefore " to the foregoing context of Acts xiii. 38, 39. 

Paul repeats the same manner of pressing Jesus on the Jews, in that con- 
ference he had with a large representation of the Jews resident in Rome (see 
Acts xxviii. 23-28), concluding his appeal with what may be called the stern- 
est and most uncompromising language of all scripture, quoting Isa. vi. 9, 10. 
It is to be noted, however, by comparison of Matt. xiii. 14; Mark iv. 12; Luke 
viii. 10 ; and John xii. 40, that he followed in this, the example of Christ's 
teaching. In fact, the language in question: "By hearing, ye shall hear, and 
shall in no wise understand, . . . lest haply they should perceive with their 
eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should 
turn again, and I should heal them," may be said to be. a Jew's text, primarily 
and purely for Jews, and to be used for Gentiles, only by proper adaptation. 

The severity, and uncompromising roughness of this manner of pressing the 
Jews with the gospel does not appear in the scriptural examples of preaching 
to Gentiles. It was justified, not only, but demanded in their case, because of 
their previous relation to God, and their long preparation for the gospel, and 
because of the urgency of tlie crisis. (Conip. below, on v. 12, "when, on 
account of the time.") The judgment impended. As our Author says : "And 
exhort so much the more as ye see the day approaches." x. 25. 
^ See J. A. Alexander on Mark i. 1. 


were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word." And in Acts i. 
1, 2, he describes the same book as having been written : " about 
all things that Jesus began both to do and to teach until the day 
in which He was received up. Also in vi. 1/ we find our Author 
uses the expression : " the word of the beginning of Christ.'^ We 
notice in these citations a custom of regarding aud speaking of 
the presence of Christ on earth, and of His personal ministry, as 
the beginning of the gospel, and even as the beginning of 
Christ's own doing aud teaching. Thus, when the Apostle, 
i. 1, says that God finally spoke in a Son, we see now 
that he did not mean, and would not be understood by his read- 
ers to mean, that " the things that were heard," i.e., when God so 
spoke, were from Christ personally on earth and from Him alone. 
It was the common understanding of Apostolic times to under- 
stand far more, viz., that from Christ's commissioned " ministers 
of the word " were to be received this word of revelation. Hence 
what they preached was called "the word of God" and "the word 
of the Lord." ^ Luke, in Acts i. 1-5, represents this in very 
plain words. The Apostle and others were to be endowed by 
the Holy Spirit to continue the revelation in which " God spoke 
to us in a Son." Much more to the same effect, and equally plain. 

It is expedient to confine the present discussion here, and simply refer to 
passages that present matter bearing on the same subject. (See Rom. ii. 5-9 ; 
ix. 21, 22; xi. 8, 25; 1 Thess. ii. 15, 16 ; v. 9 ; 2 Thess. ii. 1-12). To rep- 
resent that bearing would involve very much space in order to adjust wliat 
might be represented with a proper account of the many divergent exegetical 

Enough has been given, however, to show, as remarked above, that one 
characteristic manner marked the Apostolic practice in pressing the gospel on 
the Jews. It treated them as exposed to divine judgment, under the terms 
and conditions of the revelation already given, particularly, of the law of 
Moses. That calamity was near, and the situation was one which, if not 
helped, left nothing to be expected but a " fearful reception of judgment and 
of fiery zeal a-coming to devour the opposers " of the gospel. Heb. x. 27. 

As in the present epistle Paul wrote to Jews, the matter now represented 
may be assumed to have had a determining influence in what he says ; and 
the modern reader must allow it a large influence in his effort to put himself 
in the place of the original readers of the epistle, so that he may understand 
as they understood. 

1 Comp. at vi. 1. '^ e. g. Acts iv. 31 ; vi. 2, 7 ; vii. 25 ; xiii. 5, 7, 48, 49. 


might be appealed to iu the New Testament. Tlie foregoing 
citations, however, appear the most apposite because they are 
expressions of contemporary writers, not reporting the sayings 
of the past, but reflecting the mode of exjjression current in their 
own times, when they wrote. The Apostle's expression that we 
are considering, though peculiar, and commonly apprehended to 
mean less than it does, is, as we have said, not emphatic; it 
refers simply to Christ's personal ministry of the gospel in terms 
and with the view of it that was commonly received. 

What the Apostle emphasizes here is expressed in the words : 
was confirmed to us by them that heard.^ This refers to the 

^ The Apostle says : was confirmed to us, Important inferences as to the Author 
of this epistle, and as to the time of its writing, and as to ita readers, have been 
made from this : us. As to the Author, it has been inferred that no Apostle could 
have written it; least of all Paul (Farrar, in loc, etc., chap. xvii. ; Davidson ; 
Moulton, in Handy Comm., etc.), who in his epistle to the Galatians and 
elsewhere, is so particular about vindicating his apostleship, and maintaining 
that he received his revelation from Christ Himself, and not by means of others. 
(So Liin., Del. ; comp. Gal. i. 1, 11, 12.) But if this epistle was written for 
Hebrews exclusivel}', and by a Hebrew, there is nothing to justify this infer- 
ence, even against Paul's authorship. He speaks here just as he does ini. 1, and 
as he did in the synagogue of Antioch of Pisidia : " Brethren, children of the 
stock of Abraham, and those among you that fear God, to vs is the word of 
this salvation sent forth," Acts xiii. 26. But it is urged, that Paul would not 
rank himself among those to whom that truth "was confirmed by those that 
heard," but would claim himself to be one of those that heard. (So Liin., Del.) 
Yet in that same address just referred to, Paul, speaking to Hebrews exclu- 
sively, said : " But God raised him from the dead ; and he was seen for many 
days of them that came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are notu 
his witnesses unto the -people. And we bring you good tidings of the promise 
made unto the fathers, how that God hath fulfilled the same unto our children 
in that he raised up Jesus," Acts xiii. 30-33. (Comp. Kay, in (Speaker's) 
Bible Comm., Introd. iii.. Sect. 3, § iii.). Here are the very traits tiiat 
are supposed to be convincing proof tliat Paul could not liave written our text, 
Heb. ii. 3, 4. We have the first person plural, and we have the appeal to wit- 
nesses of Christ, with no reference to himself as one of them. It is the more 
remarkable, because the particular testimony referred to is, that Jesus was 
raised up from the dead, and that was the one great historical fact concerning 
Jesus of which Paul was also a witness. That remarkable address of Paul's, 
in the synagogue of Pisidian Antiocli, is very instructive, when compared 
with this e])istle. Its concluding words, vers. 38-41, are an ejjitome of the 
chief doctrine of this epistle, and contain the same warning that is given in 
the text we are studying, and that is reiterated, again and again, in stronger 

40 AUTHOR, DATE AND READERS. [ii. 3 h, 4. 

Apostles and others that authoritatively preached the gospel. 
The emphatic thought is exi^ressed in the word translated 
confirmed, which is the verbal form of the adjective translated 
" steadfast " iu ver 2. The Apostle expresses that this " salva- 
tion " became steadfast to those to whom God spoke it, as well 
as did " the word spoken by angels." The antithesis will appear 
if we translate: "which [salvation] taking a beginning of being 
spoken through the Lord, was made steadfast to us by those that 
heard." The thought is completed by what is added in ver. 4, 
in close connection. 

terms, as the Author proceeds. But this fact appears in the comparison, viz., 
that, when Paul addressed an exclusively Jewish gathering, his manner was 
different from what it was when addressing Gentiles. Comp. Acts xxii. 18. 
That difference appears as plainly in the brief address in the synagogue (the 
only one of the kind fully reported) as in this long epistle. While it does not 
touch the question of difference, or as others will have it, discrepancy in doc- 
trine, who may say what must be the limit of tliat difference? The differ- 
ences between the manner of this epistle and, say, that to the Komans, are 
many ; but as to doctrine, while some things have not the prominence here 
that they have there, discrepancy there is none. The objection to Paul's 
authorship that we have been considering has no force. 

The inference as to the time ofwritinrf this epistle is, that tlie clause : " was con- 
firmed unto us by those tliat heard," implies that the writer, as well as his 
readers, belonged to a second generation of Christians (Liin.). The citation 
from Acts xiii. 30-33, just given above, shows how little that inference is justi- 
fied. The lapse of even a few years of spreading the gospel would be enough 
to make it improper to say of the Apostles to a Christian company of some 
standing : " who are now his witnesses," and would require instead an aoristic 
form of expression like our Heb. ii. 3. Besides (as von Hofmann replies), 
how could tliose that heard the witnesses of Christ belong to a different gen- 
eration from the latter ? 

The inference as to the readers of this epistle from the words : " was confirmed 
unto us " is, that the Apostle wrote to Christians who did not see and hear the 
Lord while He was on earth ; therefore, his readers were not Christians in 
Palestine. (So von Hof.) If there were any force in this objection, why should the 
Lord Jesus say, that His disciples were to be witnesses, and that repentance and 
remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning 
from Jerusahm? (Luke xxix. 47, 48 ; comp. Acts i. 8). And why did Peter, at 
a time when he had little idea of testifying to any but Jews in Palestine, pro- 
mote the election of Matthias to be a witness with the other Apostles of the 
resurrection? (Acts i. 22). And why did he say: And we are witnesses of 
all things which he did, both in the country of the Jews, and in Jerusalem. 
(Acts x. 39). The inference is obviously incorrect. 


In ver. 4 the Apostle emphasizes how that salvation was 
imparted by those that heard. It was in a way that excluded all 
uncertainty, in that, when those who heard the Son began to im- 
part in turn the salvation to others, God attended them with His 
testimony to the truth of Avhat they taught. This testimony of 
God was by signs and wonders and manifold powers, and distri- 
butions of the Holy Spirit according to his own will. The qualify- 
ing phrase : accordiag to his own will, applies only to : distribu- 
tions of the Holy Spirit,^ and not to all or any other of the particu- 
lars that precede that, and is intended to denote, not only that 
these distributions proceeded from the free grace of God, but 
that they Mere in great variety as to their nature and degree, 
and in great abundance.^ What is referred to is primarily the 
miraculous manifestations that attended the preaching of the 
Apostles, and were the proof of the presence of the Holy 
Spirit ; and then the charismata generally.^ 

Thus the Apostle has shown, that what God spoke through 
the Son must be a greater and better revelation for those that had 
it than what was spoken by angels, because of the superior 
excellence of the Sou as an agent of revelation (i. 1-14). Thus 
far he uses an aprioral method. 

To the admonition, that proportionate heed should be given to 
that revelation (ii. 1), and with the purpose of enforcing that 
admonition, he has added still other considerations, viz., the mode 
in which it was imparted and confirmed, proving that the revela- 
tion is greater and better. While the word spoken by angels 

As the text before us is regarded as one of the clearest intimations in our 
epistle relative to the inferences just noticed, it deserves the attention we have 
given it. By disposing of it, we have disposed of many that are urged against 
Paul's authorship. We may note on the other hand, that Delitzsch, who has 
much to offer against the view that Paul is the author, admits that our phrase : 
"was confirmed to us" is quite in Paul's style; two of his modes of expres- 
sion are combined in it: (1) "f, = "to," of them to whom the preaching of the 
gospel was addressed, and to whom it came (1 Thess. i. 5 ; comp. 2 Cor. viii. 
6 ; Col. i. 25 ; 1 Pet. i. 25) ; (2) fieliawvv = " to confirm," of the preaching of 
the gospel in demonstration of the spirit and of power (1 Cor. i. 6 ; Phil. i. 7). 

^ So Liin., Alford, and many others. ^ So Liin. 

'Acts ii. 1-4; iv. 31 ; x. 44; 1 Cor. xii. 4-11. 

42 ANGELS NOT LOEDS [ii. 5. 

became steadfast by the dreadful agency of divine judgments, the 
word spoken by the Son was made steadfast simultaneously with 
its utterance by the demonstration of God Himself by His Holy 
Spirit. Not only the convincing way, but the merciful way of 
sending forth and establishing this salvation makes it so admir- 
able. So great a salvation must be the only salvation. Neglect- 
ing it, must leave no escape from the consequence of transgres- 
sion and disobedience.^ 

Having represented the urgency of the situation that requires 
his readers to escape from the word spoken by angels, in 
other words, from the inevitable consequences of transgression 
and disobedience of that word, and having pointed to the gos- 
pel of Christ as the only salvation, in terms that display the 
greatness of it, the Apostle proceeds to represent how there comes 
to he such a salvation, i.e., a dispensation that is escape from the 
foregoing dispensation revealed by the agency of angels. 

Ver. 5. For not unto angels did he subject the world to come, of 
which we speak. Such is the Author's proposition. And, with the 
proof following, it is the first blow given to the entering wedge 
that is to divide the old from the new revelation. The subject 
of the verb subjected is God, mentioned in ver. 4 as partici- 
pating actively in the revelation of the gospel, and imparting to 
it the character of an express and particular revelation. For 
connects with : salvation, ver. 3, and the whole attending represen- 
tation of it as very great.^ The mention of angels is because 
the Author continues the contemplation of Christ, as an agent 
of revelation in relation to those antecedent agents, the angels, 
and of his word in relation to theirs. The negative affirmation 
of something not subjected to angels implies something that was 
subjected, and something obvious. What was subjected to them 
was not this world.^ It refers to the situation represented, i. 14 ; 
ii. 2, which evidently does represent a ministration committed to 
angels, and a state of things subjected to their ministry (i. 14). 
The time referred to by : subjected (aorist) is when the angels 
by divine commission spoke their word. 

^ Comp. X. 26. 2 So von Hof. ^ So Davidson. 

ii. 5.] OF THE WORLD TO COME. 43 

The world to come (-rryv oixouiiivt^v rijv jiikkouaav = the world that 
should afterwards come) represents in other words the same 
notion as i. 14, " those that should afterwards inherit salvation." 
The word for world (^olxou/j.ivr^'j means an inhabited world (comp. 
on i. 6) ; and the world now mentioned is made up of the heirs 
of salvation. It would more precisely render the meaning here 
to translate : the world that should afterwards be. For the mean- 
ing is, that when God subjected to augcls something wherein 
they were to be agents. He did not subject to them the world that 
should afterwards be, of which the Apostle speaks ; in other 
words, a world that was futwre with respect to their word of revela- 
tion and their consequent ministration. The rendering : the world 
to come, is inexact, because it seems to express futurity only with 
respect to this writing of the Apostle ; which is the notion most 
commonly entertained of it. It was future then ; it is future 
still. But it was future also when God spoke by angels ; and 
that, not simply historically so, but as something foreordained of 
God. This truth regarding the world to come is further implied 
in the representations of the following vers. 6-9, where the 
immediate purpose of the Author is to represent that the world 
to come icas subjected to Christ. This must be borne in mind 
as the meaning when the expression : world to come is used in 
the following pages. Of which we speak, says the Apostle, in 
the first person plural, meaning himself, as he evidently does in 
other places in our epistle (comp. v. 11 ; vi. 9, 11 ; xiii. 18). 
By saying : we speak, in the present tense, he means the context 
immediately preceding, wherein he speaks of the great salvation, 
and the verses before us, wherein he continues to speak of the 
same subject. As spoken by the Lord and confirmed by those 
that heard Him, the great salvation proclaimed that world to 
come. And the Author, in urging that salvation as the way of 
escape, and thus calling on men to become heirs of salvation to 
come, is speaking of a world to come. In denying that this 
world to come was subjected to angels, the Author does not 
imply that the present world was subjected to them, as some have 
inferred,' and thereon constructed a theory of angelic dominion. 

^ e. g., Davidson. 

44 WHAT IS MAN? [ii. 6-8 a. 

Nor, indeed, that any inhabited world was subjected to them. 
The context admits of no inference beyond that stated above. 
But in denying that the world to come was subjected to them, 
the Author does mean that it was subjected to some one. That 
meaning he proceeds to unfold. 

Vers. 6-8 a. But one somewhere testified, saying: What is 
man, that thou art mindful of him ; or a son of man, that thou visitest 
him ? 7. Thou madest him a little lower than angels ; thou crown- 
edst him with glory and honor; 8a. thou didst subject aU things 
under his feet. 

The Author appeals to words found Ps. viii. 4-6. The genu- 
ine text omits part of the words of the passage,* viz. " Thou 
madest him have dominion over the works of thy hands," ver. 6 a. 
The Apostle, no doubt, freely uses as much as suits his purpose. 
The indefiniteness of the terras one and somewhere need occasion 
no difficulty, and scarcely calls for remark. It has been observed 
that Philo uses the same : somewhere in quoting scripture. By : 
one somewhere " is intimated tliat it is immaterial to the present 
purpose who said this or where it was to be found, but that it is 
quoted as the expression of a man, yet, of course, such as has 
the force of a saying of scripture." ^ Or, with Chrysostom, we 
may say : " It is not meant either to hide or to reveal the one 
that testifies, but indicates the source as well known, and the 
readers as well versed in scripture." Prefacing the quotation 
with : one testifies somewhere, makes a distinct appeal to what is 
quoted, as authoritative. What is said is a matter of testimony, 
and that, scripture testimony. Moreover, by considering the 
words in the way of exposition (8 6) and of comment (8 c) and 
of application (9) the Author distinctly treats them as scriptural 
proof of what he represents. All this calls for special attention, 
and for comparison with his manner of using scriptural language 
in i. 5-13. (Comp. ii. 12, 13). It shows that the Author knows 
how to make it plain that his intention is to appeal to scripture, 
and that we may expect this of him when he does so, as we do 
of others. And when, as in i. 5 sqq. he gives no such intimation, 
we may understand him in the way that has been there explained. 

1 So Tisch., L., Tr., Westc. and Hort. '^ von Hof. 

ii. 6-8 a.] all things under his feet. 45 

The important part of the present quotation is that contained 
in vers. 7, 8 a, as the following context shows by dwelling only 
on that. What precedes expresses wonder that God should 
bestow so much regard on one who in his own estimation as a 
man, one of the race, is so insignificant. What that regard is, is 
expressed in the description of what God has done for man. 
That description affords the Author proof of what he has 
affirmed in ver. 5, viz., that the world to come was not subjected 
to angels. The description represents what is stated of the origi- 
nal work of creation. Gen. i. 26, 28 ; and the Psalmist must be 
understood as referring to that. It is, natural to ask : why does 
our Author not appeal to that passage instead of to the Psalm ? 
In respect to what was subjected, and that it was subjected to 
man, the Psalm says no more than Gen. i. 26, 28, except to pro- 
nounce, that by that ordinance man was crowned with glory and 
honor. As such, the testimony of the Psalm is secondary, and 
the original decree would seem to suit the purpose of our Author 
better. Another, say the Apostle himself, could testify to as 
much as this on the authority of scripture, as well as the Psalmist, 
and could say, too, that thus man was crowned with glory and honor. 

It must be something; he finds in the Psalm that is not in the 
original decree, that makes the Psalmist's testimony more suit- 
able for the Apostle's purpose. That something is the mention 
of angels, which bears on his proposition ver. 5. He finds in 
that the express affirmation of a distinction between angels and 
man ; of man having a rank and glory all his own ; and of all 
things being subjected to man, and not to angels. This is the 
point of the quotation ; and it is admirably to the point. As 
scripture proof, it is complete. It extends to this : it breaks down 
the assumption that everything relating to human affairs is sub- 
jected to angels ; and it shows that man has a distinct rank and 
sphere of his own, and that it is such as crowns him witli glory 
and honor in no way dependent on angels nor related to them. 

With this understanding of the scope of tlie Author's a])peal 
to the scripture in question, the earnest debate among commen- 
tators * about the meaning of ver. 7 a, ijAarrwira? abrov ^pa^b tc 

^ See Davidson. 


nap' dyyiUou?, becomes insignificant. The common translation 
given above is best sustained ; and also the common understand- 
ing, that it expresses how man is inferior in creation to angels, 
yet only a little inferior/ But whichever of the debated senses 
is true, the distinction between angels and men remains, and that 
is the point emphasized, with the view of showing that to the 
one, viz., man, is given a dominion and glory that is not subjected 
to the other. 

Moreover, the view now presented of the Author's appeal to 
Ps. viii., relieves us of the difficulty commonly felt about the 
Psalm having a Messianic reference. Much ingenuity has been 
expended by commentators to justify what they suppose the 
Author believed, viz., that the Psalm spoke of the Messiah. 
Delitzsch, in loc, may be taken as an example. He expresses, 
however, the difficulty of the undertaking, when he says : "And 
yet this Psalm has less of a Ilessianio appear^ance than almost 
any ; nor has it, so far as we know, ever been recognized as a 
Messianic Psalm, in the synagogue." The Psalm is no more 
Messianic than it appears. The Apostle no more treats it as 
such than does the synagogue. 

It is important to notice that the Psalmist, consistently with 
the account of the original creation (Gen. i. 26-30), refers the : 
making- a little lower than angels, and the : crowning with glory 
and honor to the same divine transaction. When the former was 
done, so was the latter. When man was created, immediately 
all was subjected to him, as to one created for such dominion, 
and thus he was crowned with glory and honor. 

The Author adds an exposition of the scriptural statement to 
which he has appealed. 

Ver. 8 b. For in subjecting^ to Mm the all things, lie left nothing" 
imsubjected to him. 

This exposition, i. e., the fact that the Author is at pains to 
note precisely the scope of this part of the language quoted, shows 
that the fact stated there is what bears out his proposition in ver. 
5. The For refers to that statement, and by this exposition of 
the pith of the quotation, shows that it is applicable to the 

^ Against Davidson. 


present subject. By the all things is meant no more than what is 
described, Ps. viii. 6-8, and more fully still, Gen. i. 20-30. The 
article (zd ■Kdvra) defines the aU things to be those already 
named. But that comprehends everything pertaining to the 
present habitable world. The Author's exposition does not 
mean to extend that meaning to things not of the habitable 
world. Least of all does he mean to intimate that angels them- 
selves arc comprehended in the all things. His point is, that 
leaving nothing unsubjected to man, left and leaves nothing to be 
subjected to angels. By thus emphasizing and insisting on the 
scopeof this: all things, the Apostle not only breaks down the 
assumption that all things in this world are subjected to angels, 
but the assumption that anything, as regarded the original insti- 
tution, is so subjected. This prepares for the conclusion, that 
the world to come was not subjected to them. For that world 
must be included in the : all things. 

With reference to this there is added a comment : 

Ver. 8 c. But now we see not yet all things subjected to 

The : not yet brings in the notion of a future, implying that 
then this subjection of all things will be realized. This resumes 
the Apostle's reference to " the world to come." This is the 
world that should afterward be. From this we see that the 
Apostle entertains the same expectation that is foretold in Isa. 
ft'. 17; ^d. 22 ; as the same is reproduced in 2 Pet. iii. 13 ; 
Rev. xxi. 1. This we do not yet behold, he says; which is true 
still as it was then, except (and the exception is inipoi-taiit) as 
we see things in Christ. But, he goes on to say, we see Jesus, 
and this antithesis is presented as if pointing to something that 
is the pledge and security that we shall behold the other, and 
thus, in effect, do by faith behold now. The sentence that pre- 
sents this antithesis is so pregnant, and consequently so complex, 
that it demands very exact scrutiny. 

Ver. 9. But we behold him made a little lower than angels, 
even Jesus, on account of the suffering of death, crowned with 
glory and honor, so that by the grace of God he might taste 
death for every one. 

48 BUT WE SEE JESUS [ii. 9. 

In this sentence in the original, as in this literal rendering, it 
is only the logical movement of the context that will enable us 
to determine what is an objective clause and what a predicate, 
and what clause is qualified by : on account of the suffering of 

However, it is plain that : But is adversative of the forego- 
ing " now " ver. 8 c. It has been noted above, that the lan- 
guage of the Psalmist refers " making a little lower than angels," 
and " crowning with glory and honor," and " subjecting all 
things under man," to one transaction. When the one was 
done, the other was thereby done also. When, therefore, our 
Author here points to Jesus with predicates of the object expressed 
in terms borrowed from the Psalm, we must assume, that he 
would have them understood here, just as they are in the 
Psalm. ^ 

In the Psalm, made a little lower than angels and crowned with 
glory and honor are both predicates of " man." Here, then, they 
must both be predicates of Jesus.^ Moreover, they must refer to 
one divine act in His case as in the other ; so that He too, when 
made a little lower than angels was thereby crowned with glory 
and honor.^ The latter expression, therefore, does not mean the 
exaltation of Christ;* nor is the former intended to express the 
idea of the humiliation of Christ.* Taken as co-ordinate expres- 
sions of the same divine act toward Christ, they mutually exclude 
these meanings, as they can neither both refer to Christ's exaltation, 
nor both to His humiliation. Neither of these notions is presented 
here. The Author only means to point to Jesus as a man, made 
like men. Hence, likely, he names Him by His human name, 
Jesus, instead of by one of the three names already used, viz., 
"Son," "the First-begotten," "Lord." And it corroborates this 
view of his meaning, that, in the context immediately following 
(ver. 10-18), the Author amplifies this thought of the Son of God, 
made like men, and in so doing, mentions only what relates to 

^ von. Hof. 

* Against Liin., and others, who make the former objective in apposition with 
Jesus and the latter predicate. 

' Comp. Matt, xxviii. 18. * Against Davidson, etc. 

* With von Hof., against most commentators. 


His human life on earth. In this connection, it must be noticed 
again, as at i. 3, that the Apostle's discourse does not bring for- 
ward at all the notion of humiliation.^ It is true that matters 
are mentioned that may be referred to that head. But the 
Apostle is not discoursing of that head. He is still exalting the 
Son as the agent of the present revelation. Thus, when point- 
ing to Him as made man, he describes Him, in those scriptural 
terms, that are the most glorious description of man ; as the only 
man that realizes the description. 

To Jesus, then, the Apostle points as realizing the original 
decree that subjected the world to man ; or, rather as come to 
realize ivhat has " not yet " been done completely. For he is 
speaking of the mission of " the Son, who was made heir of all 
things." That Son, coming in that quality as man, and with a 
name so much more excellent than that of the angels, is, ipso 
facto, crowned with the glory and honor that is the equivalent 
of having all things subjected to Him.^ By saying, ver. 8 c, 
" we see now not yet all things subjected to Him," the Apostle 
implies that something has been subjected to man ; viz., the 
dominion described in the omitted ver. 6 a, of Ps. viii. ; but sub- 
jecting all is not completely done. On the contrary, man is him- 
self under the fear of death (vers. 14, 15), with all involved in 
that. The suffering of death expresses more than mere dying. 
Deliverance from that will bring about the complete accomplish- 
ment of subjecting all things to man, i. e., will complete his 
crowning with glory and honor ; in other words, bring in " the 
world to come of which the Apostle speaks " (ver. 5). It is 
the future completion of this subjecting to which the not yet 

It is because he is so speaking that the Apostle weaves into 
our present sentence the clauses : on account of the suffering of 
death, and : that he might taste death for every one. They express 
in respect to what and hmc Jesus effects that complete subjection 
and brings in the world to come, viz., in respect to the suffering 
of death, as the bar to having that glory ; and in respect to his 
tasting death for everyone, as the means of effecting that glory. 

' Against e. y. Angus. ^ Comp. Matt, xxviii. 18 ; xi. 27 ; John xiii. 3. 


50 TO SUFFEB DRA.TH [ii. 9. 

Thus, as the reference of " for " in ver. 5 proposes, the Author 
shows how there comes to be a salvation from the word spoken 
by angels, by showing that there is a world to come and always 
was from the original creation, and that this world was not sub- 
jected to angels, but to men, and that it is Jesus who is to effect 
that complete subjection, which He does by a deliverance from 
death, and by expiation of sins. 

As to the much-debated question, whether : on account of the 
suffering of death belongs to : made a little lower than angels, 
or to : crowned with glory and honor, ' there appears no suffi- 
cient reason why it does not equally belong to both ; see- 
ing both, as explained above, are a double description 
of the same thing, viz., of the Son becoming mau.^ He 
became man, but such a crowning perfection of humanity, 
on account of the suffering of death. This suffering of death 
refers to the common lot of humanity, which, as the great bar 
to having all things subject to man, or rather as the nullification 
of the decree to that effect, calls for a remedy. As has been said 
already, the suffering of death does not mean simply dying, i.e., 
simply the separation of soul and body. But, including that, it 
signifies an extended experience, of which man is the passive sub- 
ject ; as by " the sufferings of sins " (viz., " when we were in the 
flesh "), E,om. vii. 5, is signified an extended experience continu- 
ing as long as the condition lasts that is expressed by : " being 
in the flesh." In Gal. v. 24, Paul calls the same thing " the 
sufferings of the flesh," ^ Another expression for : the suffering 
of death is : " the pangs of death," Acts ii. 24, where it is evi- 

^ See the representation of this debate in Stuart ; and the array of authori- 
ties on either side, which are equally balanced, in LUn., Alford. 

^ For the connection of Sia to nd-^Tj/ia k. t. A. with eaTEcpavu/ihov, one cannot 
urge the position of the clause, as appears by comparison of vii. 18 ; nor the 
force of Sid, as appears from the same passage, and also from Eora. iv. 25 ; nor 
the relevancy of the notions so connected, as also appears from Kom. iv. 25. 

' It is interesting, and reflects light on the topic of our text, to notice how 
in Eom. vii. 4-6, Paul treats the subject of sin as the barrier to the free life- 
service of righteousness and of fruitfulness to God, much as our Author here 
treats death (vers. 9, 10, 14, 15), and sins (ver. 17), as the barriers to that glory 
and honor to which God predestined His sons. 


dent, from the reference to Ps. xvi. 10, that death is meant in a 
local sense, as Hades, or the state of the dead. Peter says of it, 
that Jesus " could not be holden of it." And Ps. xvi., which is 
unsurpassed by any Old Testament passage, in respect to its con- 
fident anticipation of eternal glory, represents Hades as an inter- 
mediate state that is a temporal bar to the realization of that 
glory that is the anticipation of "the saints that are in the 
earth," v. 3. But in the confidence of that inspiration that dic- 
tated this Psalm, the Psalmist looks to be rescued from that 
state, and exclaims : " Thou wilt not leave my soul in Hades," 
V. 10. " Therefore," he says, moreover : " My heart is glad 
and my glory (ni:]:?) rejoiceth ; my flesh also shall rest in hope," 
V. 9. Yet, though, with the spirit of a seer, an Old Testament 
saint could look beyond the grave, and triumph in this fashion, 
it was very different when contemplating directly death and 
Hades. Then the Psalmist exclaimed : " O Lord, deliver my 
soul ; oh save me for Thy mercies sake. For in death there is 
no remembrance of Thee ; in Hades who shall give Thee thanks." 
(Ps. vi. 4, 5; comp. Isa. xxxviii. 11, 18.) The suffering, or 
the sufferings (our ver. 10) experienced in this condition, from 
which " the saints in the earth " sighed and prayed to be deliv- 
ered, even in anticipation of them, loere the suffering of death 
referred to in our verse, as nullifying the destiny to glory and 
honor proper to man. They were the bar to all things being 
subjected to Him. On account of this suffering of death Jesus, 
too, M-as, like the sons of God that He would lead to glory, made 
a little lower than angels and crowned with glory and honor, 
that He might taste death for every one. We say these were the 
sufferings ; for as will appear, the Author represents that they 
were ended by what Jesus suffered and did. 

The statement that Christ became man on account of the suf- 
fering of death does not express what He was to do as a man on 
that account. This the Apostle explains by adding : That he 
might taste death for every one. By His dying men may be deliv- 
ered from death (comp. ver. 1 5), and so the last bar to complete 
subjection of all things was to be removed. To tliis he adds, 
that this death and this purpose of Jesus' dying was by the grace 

52 THE DIVINE TzpiTzov. [ii. 10. 

of God.^ This statement, especially by the emphatic position of 
the words in this very emphatic clause, implies the denial of the 
opposite, viz., a death by the wrath of God.^ Such was the death 
to which men were subjected, and of which they lived in constant 
dread (vers. 14, 15). It is, therefore, as very important, 
emphatically affirmed that Christ's death was the reverse of this ; 
that it was by the grace of God. Only such a death could be for 
the benefit of those that were otherwise subject to death. This 
word : grace, refers not to Christ who died, but to men for whom 
He died. It has its full New Testament sense of : " favor to the 

This statement, that Christ came to die so, and for such an 
object, is the emphatic statement of the verse, and the climax of 
the passage beginning with For, ver. 5. It displays the Sou as 
having " the world to come " subjected to Him, and not to angels ; 
that even His death had no relation to the word spoken by them, 
as if He died, in consequence of that, as other men died ; and so 
He can bring in a salvation and redeem those that were to be the 
inhabitants of the world to come. 

The statement that Christ's coming Avas with the intent to 
taste death for every one, must not be pressed to mean that He 
comprehended every man individually or all men universally in 
the intended benefit. The Author presents the truth in its gen- 
eral aspect with reference to the completeness of the deliverance, 
and not with reference to distinctions that must be made when 
the truth is applied to particulars, i. e., to the subjects delivered.^ 

Ver. 10. For it became him, on account of whom are the 
aU things and through whom are the all things, when he brought 
many sons to glory, to make perfect the captain of their salvation 
through sufferings. 

The For of this statement refers to the foregoing words : " by 
the grace of God." Having by that expression pointed to God's 
participation in the matter of Christ's death as explained above, 

^ On the reading jwp'? see Alford, Del. ^ So von Hof. 

* Before passing from this remarkable sentence of ver. 9, it may be noted that 
its complex and difficult construction affords some evidence of its having Paul 
for Author. It reminds one of sentences in Eomans and Galatians, with 
which one has wrestled. 


the Apostle gives a reason for it. The reason relates not merely 
to the divine intei*vention, but to the grace which was its special 
characteristic. For brings in this reason. This reason he refers 
to God Himself, and to what became him, or was befitting God. 
In stating this, the Apostle repeats, in modified expressions, the 
thing that so finds its explanation in God's own character. It is 
two-fold ; (a) the thing done, viz., bringing sons to glory, and (6) 
the way of doing this, viz., by the death of His Son, the special 
aim being to explain this latter (6). It is obvious that these bare 
notions are common, both to our verse and to the foregoing context 
(vers. 7—9). For nothing justifies us in understanding glory here 
to mean anything else than it does in verses 7, 9, and in its origi- 
nal place in Psa. viii. As we have seen, it describes the condi- 
tion of one to whom all things are subjected. Moreover, we are 
equally constrained to understand the all things in our verse as 
meaning the same as " all things," verse 8. The article {jd Travr^)^ 
as in ver. 8 6, only defines the all things as the same as that 
already named.^ 

In having the all things subjected to him, man, according to 
his original destiny, was crowned with glory. Such has been the 
representation preceding our verse, with the comment that : " now 
we see not yet the all things subjected to him." In our vcr. 10 
the expressions : on account of whom are the all things, and 
by whom are the all things, are not to be taken as merely a cir- 
cumlocution for God.^ This circumlocution is breviloquence 
that states how God is related to the all things so intimately con- 
cerned with man's glory. And this representation is not added 
to: him = "God," in order to justify and illustrate the use of 
sTzpene, it became.^ For er.peTts needs nothing to set it in a 
proper light, seeing it describes what God does as something in- 
wardly befitting Him.* It describes the suffering and death of 
Jesus as something that God could not permit not to happen, if 
He would save meu.^ By adding the phrases we are considering, 

1 Comp. i. 2, 3. * As Calvin, Liin., Del., Alford. 

^Agninst Liin., Del., von Hof. formerly iu his Weissagg u. ErfiUlg.; re- 
tracted in his C'omm. 

' von Hof. " ^o" Ilof- 


the Apostle expresses the absohite sovereignty of God in rela- 
tion to the all things that would constitute the glory of men.^ 
And he means to state, that, sovereign as He is, the only way for 
God now (8 c) to secure the glory to men was through the 
suffering and death of the Son.^ And, in accordance with this, 
the achievement of this glory is now described as a leading to 

Instead of the expression : " crowning man with glory," the 
Apostle speaks here of leading many sons to glory ; and instead 
of saying, Jesus died, he speaks of His being perfected through 
suffering. Moreover, the expressions being in the aorist, indi- 
rectly affirm that God led many sons to glory and that he perfected 
Jesus, whom the Apostle now designates : the captain of their 

In salvation we have the correlative of glory. Salvation 
achieves the glory. This coincidence of the notions, salvation 
and glory, (viz., the glory of Ps. viii., "crowned with glory,") is 
represented by Isa. xi. 1-9 ; Ixv. 17-29. This reference is 
enough to justify our understanding the Apostle to use the two 
words synonymously in the way just explained. And we have 
in this, another explanation why the Apostle now speaks of 
leading to glory. Calling Jesus, the captain of their salvation, 
we may suppose, is suggested as the fitting expression here, 
because of that light in which He is put in ver. 9, where Jesus, 
and He alone, is represented as realizing the description of man 
crowned with glory and honor by reason of having all things 
subjected to Him, and, as such, dying for the benefit of every 
one; but especially because of that deliverj'^ {arraXXd^rj, ver. 15), 
which was a leading forth from the power of death (ver. 14). 
This fitness appears further when we notice that at v. 9, he is 
called the " cause " or " author of salvation to them that obey 
him." He that has obedience is a captain. 

The temporal reference of the clauses : who led {ayaydvra^ lead- 
ing, in the past ; aorist participle), many sons to glory and to 
make perfect (in the past; aorist infin.), etc., represents the 
leading to glory and perfecting, as things done in the past. The 

^ Comp. Eom. xi. 36 ; 1 Cor. viii. 6. ^ Comp. on v. 7. 


subject of both verbal notions is God. The past referred to 
must be the same in both cases ; when the one was done the 
other was also. The reference of perfecting is obviously to the 
death of Christ, or rather to what was ellected by His death and 
its attending sufferings. The death that perfected Christ was 
the means by which the sons were led to glory. This represen- 
tation is likely to impress most readers strangely. But it is 
consistent with the Author's usual way of representing the effects 
of the death of Christ. Thus, at x. 14, he says, referring to this 
death : " For by one offering, He hath perfected forever them 
that are sanctified." (Comp. x. 10.) Similarly, at v. 9, "Having 
been made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation, 
unto all them that obey Him." Thus, there are effects of Christ's 
suffering and death that were accomplished when He Himself 
was perfected. The sanctification of all believers was such an 
effect. Leading them to glory was another. One was true as a 
past transaction, in the same sense as the other. The following 
verse (11), shows that glory and "sanctification" refer to the 
same thing, or rather are concomitants of one transaction. How 
it was true, may be left for fuller consideration, when the pro- 
gress of this epistle shall have made us more familiar with the 
Author's way of representing the gospel. (Comp. below at vers. 
14, 15 ; V. 9 ; x. 14.) For the present we may briefly note, that 
it w^as true in the sense that, on God's part and the Son's part, 
all was completely done that was to be done for axjcomplishing 
these results. 

We need not, therefore, take the expressions in any other than 
their simple grammatical significance.^ 

'>■ A few samples of tlie constructions to which commentators hare resorted, 
in order to reach a plain meaning {i. e., one less strange than that affi)rded by 
the simple grammatical construction), may serve to increase the satisfaction 
with that given above. " As one that led many sons to glory ; " making the 
ayaySvTa in apposition with rhv dpxv7^'V (Ebrard). "After he (i. c, the Cap- 
tain of their salvation) liad led many sons to glory" ("Winer, Gram., p. 343). 
"As He would lead" (Bleek, ct al). "AVIien, or as He was leading," (Lun., 
Del.). " By leading ... He perfected " (Moll, quoting and agreeing with 
Tholuck). "Having led many sons," etc. (von. Ilof.), who also understands 
Old Testament saints to be meant, but finds an antithesis between "glory" 


The Author, as we have noted, exchanges here the expression 
" man " (ver. 6), which was continued in vers. 6 6-8 by the 
pronoun {Him, His), for many sons, because leading to glory may 
not be predicated in the universal way that was proper in the 
original decree (Ps. viii. ; Gen. i.) It was only sons that God 
led to glory by His Son. At the same time he says many sons, 
to denote that they were a multitude. It is possible, even, that 
he may say, many sons in distinction from all the sons that 
are eventually to be led to gloiy. For he may have particularly 
in mind such as are described ver. 15, which, as the expression : 
were all their life-time subject to bondage, shows, describes those 
whose experiences of the sort named were of the past, and thus 
denotes saints of the past. Such wer^e delivered from the power 
of death, by what Jesus did "tlirough death "(v. 14). Many 
sons were then led to glory by Jesus. Of the rest, all are led to 
glory " who obey him," v. 9, who was then perfected as a Saviour 
through sufferings. 

In saying that the Son was perfected through sufferings, the 
Apostle obviously refers to the mention of suffering in ver 9. 
The meaning is, that Christ died, and through death, attained the 
perfection so called.^ By resorting to this expression, he inter- 
prets for us the reference to " the suffering of death " of ver. 9. 
As stated above, those sufferings were the bar to men coming to 
the glory celebrated in Ps. viii. ; or rather were the nullification 
of that glory. On account of those sufferings the Son was made 
man ; to lead men to glory He must deliver from those suffer- 
ings; ''to deliver others He must suffer Himself."^ Having 
passed through the suffering. He was perfected. As He suffered 
" by the grace of God," (ver. 9), God was the one that perfected 
Him, and God did this " by grace," i. e., through favor to men 
exposed to the sufferings of death. 

By perfected is not meant completeness of moral character, as 

and " sufferings ; " e. ^., while an Aaron was led to the high-priesthood, and 
so attained his glory, Christ was led through suffering to reach Ats glory- 

' Corap. Luke xiii. 32, "The third day I am perfected." 
^ Conip. Matt, xxvii. 42. 


is very commonly represented in tlie homiletical use of this text. 
That notion is at variance with all that the preceding context 
represents concerning Christ, who, to be " a Son of God," and 
" effulgence of the glory " of God, and " stamp of His substance," 
must have had moral completeness, if any thing. It is therefore 
a perversion of the truth expressed in this scripture to teach from 
it as if from the example of Christ, that Chiistian character, 
viz. moral perfection, is to be attained through suflterings. Not 
only does our text not say that Christ was made morally perfect 
by suffering, but our Author says that believers are perfected by 
the offering that Christ made in His death, and by that way 
alone.^ Moreover, it was not all sufferings, that, according to 
our Author, made Christ perfect, but the sufferings involved in 
death. It were absurd in His case to suppose that He was first 
a morally complete man, when He had died, and not till then. 
It were still more absurd to represent that believers become 
morally complete by means of that suffering that ends their life. 

Neither does perfected mean that Christ was exalted to heavenly 
glory ,^ for the reasons given above (ver. 9), that show how 
" glory and honor " refer to something else. 

It must mean the same as at v. 9, where it is said Christ was 
perfected, and that, not by the agony of soul He suffered in view 
of death, but by the act of dying itself. Having died, He was 
perfected, and His perfection fitted Him to " become the cause of 
everlasting salvation to those that obey Him," and He so became. 
His perfection was that fitness, and being perfected, He reached 
the goal of His earthly destiny,^ which was to save sinners.* 
Similarly, in our text : when God perfected Jesus, it was as Cap- 
tain of salvation for the sous whom He led to glory. By His 
undergoing the sufferings of death, Jesus was so perfected. 
Without dying He could not be such a Captain of salvation. 

An emphatic thought of the present verse (10) is, that what is 
described as done is affirmed to be what befitted God. This is 
truly a remarkable saying that has few ])arallels in scripture. 

1 X. 14. ^ Against Alford, Lindsay, Liin., etc. 

' So von Hof. ; corap. Davidson, p. 65. 
*Comp. Luke xiii. 32; John iv. 34. 


What was done by Christ to save men is referred to something 
in God Himself, as its ultimate reason. The question arises, 
naturally: Why was this, and just tliis, befitting God. The follow- 
ing verse answers this question/ and for introduces the reason. 

Ver. 1 1 a. For both he that sanctifies and they that are sanc- 
tified are all of one. 

The subjects of the foregoing verse, viz., " sons led to glory," 
and " Captaiu of salvation," are resumed here under different 
desio-nations. The latter is called : he that sanctifies ; the former : 
they that are sanctified. Or rather, the sanctifier and the sanctified ; 
for the present participles are used substantively,^ designating the 
parties named according to their relative positions. This is a 
species of breviloquence that implies the affirmation, that it is by 
being sanctified that sons are led to glory, and that He that leads 
them to glory does it by Himself sanctifying them. And this, 
in part, answers the question prompted above, viz.,Why was such 
a way of leading sons to glory something befitting God ? Though 
God was sovereign of " the all things," whose subjection to man 
would crown him with glory and honor, yet could He not lead 
man to glory without sanctifying him. And sanctify has here 
its usual meaning of setting something into a state opposite to 
that of common {xoi'Mt-J), i. e., into a state befitting the nature of 
God,^ to be for God's service. 

The complete reply to the question is in the affirmation, that 
the sanctifier and the sanctified are all of one. The word aU 
(TtdvTs?), combined as it is with the emphatic conjunctive form 
both-and (ri-xat ), has a special emphasis,^ which we may render 
by all of them ; and pointedly comprehends both parties in what 
is affirmed. It emphasizes especially, that what is affirmed is true 
of the sanctified, of whom it might not be thought, as well as of 
the Sanctifier, of whom it was obviously true. What is affirmed 
is that they are all of one. This one (ivdi) is not to be taken as 
neuter gender,^ = " one nature," for nothing in the context sug- 
gests the supplement of "■ nature " or any kindred generic sub- 

1 Against Liin. ^ Comp. Winer, Gram., p. 353. 

^ Comp. Cremer, Lex. swi. voc, and Heb. ix. 13. * Liin. 

^ Against Calvin. 

ii. 11 b.] ALL OF ONE DmNE FATHER. 59 

stantive ; nor can the proposition '/. of itself, liave such force/ 
but denotes origin, source ;- not kind or quahty. It must be 
taken as masculine. Taking it so, many understand the : one to 
mean Adam ;^ others again to mean Abraham,* appealing to ver. 
16. But the meaning is clearly determined for us by the 
expression "many sous," in ver. 10, and the fact that our expres- 
sion : the sanctified is only the same subject continued under 
another name. The Author by : of one means of God,^ and 
means to affirm of all of them that they are alike sons of God. 
He says : of one and not : " of Him ' ' (^^ aurou),^ because he would 
emphasize the unity of the two parties named. And this presents 
the reason why God treated the one as He did the others. Suf- 
fering attending death (v, 8), and chastisement (xii. 6, 7), are 
the lot of sons ; thus, He that was made the Captain or leader 
of many sons to bring them to glory, was made complete as such 
by suffering what they suffered. Thus, what is affirmed in ver. 
10, as befitting God, or as the divine -pi-w, is proved.^ 

The force of the For, that introduces our ver. 11, does not 
extend beyond the first clause of this verse.^ In a fashion that 
Ls characteristic of the Author, and of which we have had an 
example at i. 4, there is here a transition from affirming some- 
thing of God, to affirming something of Jesus; and what follows 
presents Him as the actor. But what follows takes its departure 
from the statement of ver. 11 a, which, besides accounting for 
the divine -pi-o; affirmed in ver. 10, equally accounts for what 
was true of Jesus Himself. And thus, referring to the statement 
of ver. 11 a, the Author procec^ls. 

Ver. 1 1 h. For which cause he is not ashamed to call them breth- 
ren, 12, saying- : I will declare thy name unto my brethren. In the 
midst of the congregation will I sing thy praise. l?>. And again : I 
will put my trust in him. And again : Behold, I and the children 
which God hath given me. 

' With Davidson ; against Liin. * Bleek. ' von Hof. * Bengel. 

* Comp. 1 Cor. viii. 6. ® Against von Hof. ' Comp. Kielim, p. 365 sqq. 

^Against the common view, according to which the force of yrp extends to 
the end of ver. 11 (Liin.), or to the end of ver, 13 (Alford), or to the end of 
ver. 15, and with that to the end of ver. 18 (iliehm, von Ilof. ). 


The Author affirms of Jesus, that lie is not ashamed to call 
brethren those sanctified; precisely as at xi. 16, he says that 
" God is not ashamed to be called their God," who desire a 
heavenly country. The choice of expression is peculiar, being 
an example of " meiosis," ^ which would convey precisely the 
contrary notion, viz., that the Son of God delights to call them 
brethren. But expressed thus, it is intimated, consistently with 
all that has been represented of the Son, that His calling them 
brethren is not a matter of course, but the exhibition of kindly 
affection and much humility, and that there is a great difference 
between Him as a Son, and the many sons ; He being more 
eminent.^ It is affirmed of the Son, that he is not ashamed, 
etc., in the present tense, which expresses that such is His present 
attitude ; and agreeably to this the Author represent Him as 
noio speaking (Xiyw^^) the words that illustrate this attitude. 

The Author here again uses Old Testament language, in the 
same free way to clothe his own thoughts that we observed at i. 
5-13. We may now understand him in this way with the more 
assurance, because in vers. 6-8, we have had an unmistakable 
example of his appealing to the Old Testament for proof. As 
said above, such an example shows, that when the Author makes 
such an appeal, he will do it as others do, in no ambiguous way. 
It increases our assurance in treating the present quotations of 
the Old Testament as we do, to notice, that now the language is 
as freely put into the mouth of the Son as in the previous case 
it was ascribed to God. Moreover, the view, that he illustrates 
by a dramatic reisresentation, agrees with the fact that he intro- 
duces the Son as so speaking now, and not as having spoken long 
ago in scripture.^ Of course, the fundamental fact that determines 
us to this view is, that here, as in i. 5-13, it is impossible in the 
original Old Testament context, to interpret the language quoted 
in the sense in which our passage presents their words. There- 
fore we reject the common view* that, "These passages are here 

^ Comp. 1 Cor. xi. 22, ovk. eTvaivu. 2 Qq chrys. ^ Contrast v. 5, 6. 

* As here again, the above explanation of our passage is a departure from 
all precedent, it seems necessary to say something more in its defense. 

The same diiBculties are encountered here as at i. 5-13, if we view the pre- 


regarded as directly prophetic, expressing, by auticipatiou, the 
relation of the Son to those whom He saves, and their com- 
mon relation to God." ^ 

We are to understand, then, that our Author here represents in 
a dramatic manner the truth that the Son is not ashamed to call 
" brethren" those sanctified. That is, he represents this truth in 
actions which he portrays the Son as performing. For the action 
is more than the words in this representation. And what is now 

sent Old Testament language as scriptural proof that Jesus was not ashamed 
to call brethren those sanctified. It leads to explanations of tlie original con- 
text of the language quoted that never would have been thought of otherwise. 
This statement is less true of Ts. xxii., from the fact that its ver. 1, was quoted 
by Jesus upon the cross (Matt, xxvii. 46), and because its vers. 7, 8, 16, 17, 18, 
appear in the gospels as especially fulfilled at the crucifixion of Jesus (Matt. 
xxvii. 35, 39, 40 ; Mark xv. 29 sqq. ; Luke xxiii, 35 sqq. ; John. xix. 23 ; xx. 25, 
27). Yet of Ps. xxii., actually spoken by Jesus, it must be admitted, that the 
words receive in His mouth a totally different sense from what they have in 
their original place. As von Ilofmann says: "In the psalm-prayer a suppliant 
implores rescue from the peril of death, whereas the crucified Jesus craves 
deliverance through death." There is no recourse, then, but tliat expressed 
by von Ilofmann: ""VVe yield the point, that the Psalm is altogether and sim- 
ply a monument of some passage in David's life." When he adds : " Put 
because of David's place in redemptive historj^, it was fitted to be read as tlie 
Old Testament expression of that, wherein the New Testament King of God's 
people was the counterpart of the Old Testament King," he introduces a 
notion that could not have occurred to the original readers of this epistle with 
reference to the present Davidic language, as pointing its signilicanee. "That 
conception of prophecy which we express by the term 'typical' does not seem 
anywhere entertained in the Epistle." (Davidson.) Moreover, were tliis tlie 
way of detecting the significance of the first quotation, it must be also of the 
two that follow. Yet the second quotation : I will put my trust in him, may 
be from one of four passages of the Old Testament (see below), and it ( aimot 
positively be determined which, and views are chiefly divided between its 
being language of David (2 Sam. xxii. 3), or of Isaiah (viii.l7). By not explic- 
itly naming the source of his quotation, our Author has left us without a 
clue to its significance by which to interpret it according to the above view of 
von. Ilofmann; in other words, we cannot tell "what is the Old Testament 
counterpart of this New Testament expression," i". e., whether Jesus speaks as 
King, or Prophet. 

The first of our quotations (ver. 12), is from Ps. xxii. 22. It is from the LXX., 
except that instead of i^tTjyi/an^iaL we have a-:vayye7.ij. This, Delitzseh says, is 
because the Author quoted from memory. Von Ilofmann says ; " because it 

' Davidson. 


represented has such close analogy to actual language of the 
Saviour, that it is far more reasonable to suppose that language 
to be the Apostle's authority for what he says, than the Old Tes- 
tament passages that he seems to quote for proof. 

First, in language drawn from Ps. xxii. 22, he represents the 
Son as starting on His mission in which He was to speak for God 
to men. Doing this he says : I will declare thy name unto my 
brethren ; in the midst of the congregation will I sing thy praise, 
better suits the object to hvojid cov" (wliicli, if so, shows that the Author was 
familiar with the original and translated '^■q'O M^iiDX for himself. Comp. Ps. 
Ixxviii. (Ixxvii.) 6. This is likely enough). The words are the Psalmist's, 
and affirm what he will do in consequence of the hoped for deliverance, pre- 
cisely as in Ps. li. 12, 13: "Eestore unto me the joys of thy salvation .... 
Then will I teach transgressors thy way." Such being the case, the question 
arises: How are they quoted as the words of Jesus? Commentators debate 
whether David utters the words prophetically or typically. Von Hofmann 
maintains the latter; Dclitzsch both. But we may ask: what evidence is 
there of either? They are quoted Avithout comment. Did, then, the readers 
know that, either typically or prophetically, Christ was the speaker in that 
Psalm? If, in ver. 8, the Author pauses to make a comment, that after all 
expresses a self-evident fact, how does he omit a comment here to show what is 
so obscure, if the common assumption be correct ? 

The next two quotations (ver. 13), if, as most commentators justly suppose, 
they are from Isa. viii. 17, 18, resemble what we noticed at i. 8, 9, viz., a single 
passage quoted as two. This seems itself to show that the Author does not 
mean to employ the language according to its original meaning, but uses it 
with a meaning peculiar to his own context. But, according to Delitzsch, the 
nearest approach in the LXX. to, the phrase : iyio iao/uai TrcTroi^uo £-' avTcp, is 
nETvoL-&o}a eaofiai sir' avru, which occurs only twice beside Isa. viii. 17. The 
phrase is near enough not to require remark. The two other places are 2 Sam. 
xxii. 3 ; Isa. xii. 2, and could just as easily be turned to account and made 
Messianic by the same process as is applied to Ps. xxii., especially 2 Sara, xxii., 
which is a Psalm of David, and where, if ever, he must have spoken as a typi- 
cal person (comp. 2 Sam. xxiii. 1, 2, where he is called Messiah, or Anointed). 
Also Ps. xviii. 2, is supposed by some to furnish the quotation (Pareus, Owen ; 
comp. Wolff, T\irner). But Delitzsch chooses Isa. viii. 17, because: "it alone 
is from a strictly INIessianic passage." Yet, as the words are produced as a 
separate quotation, it affords a presumption against their being taken from tlie 
same place as the next quotation following. And seeing it is by these quota- 
tions that Messianic passages in the Old Testament are detected, why not take 
the opportunity this furnishes of detecting another? Surely the more we have 
of them the better, for the style of exegeses we are considering ! 

But taking Isa. viii. 17 as the source of the quotation, ver. 13 a, then we find 
that the original Hebrew makes Isaiah the speaker. At this point the LXX. 

ii. 11 6, 13,] WHEN WITH THEM OX EARTH. 63 

ver. 12. This recalls the language of John. xvii. 25, 26: "O 
righteous Father, the world knew thee not, but I knew thee ; 
and I have made known unto them thy name, and will make it 
known," The Author's way of saying it is pointed by the ex- 
pression my brethren ; but the next quotation shows that it is the 
action more than the expression my brethren, that displays what 
the Author means, for there the expression is omitted. 

Second, he represents the Son in the same condition with those 

very materially differs from the Hebrew, changing both the speaker and the 
language he uttei-s. It is in the LXX. that Delitzsch finds the coloring that 
best suits the interpretation that Messiah or Immanuel is the real speaker. 
But the fact just noted about the LXX. rather increases the doubt about our 
Author's really quoting the words as Scripture proof at all. 

The third of our quotations is evidently from Isa. viii. 18. But just as evi- 
dently Isaiah is the speaker, and the children referred to are his two sons with 
the prophetic names. Delitzsch says: "The spirit of Jesus was already in 
Isaiah, and pointed, in the family of Isaiah, to the New Testament church ;" 
and " thus we have the deejaest typical relation to justify our Author in taking 
the words of Isaiah as the words of Jesus." But it may be replied to this, that 
with such an interpretation we have a mystery as profound as Melchizedek. 
Our Author gives a chapter or more to the exposition of the typical signifi- 
cance of Melchizedek. How could he expect his readers to detect the typical 
ground of his present reference to Isaiah without a similar elaboration ? Or, 
if without comment they understand this reference in the way expounded by 
Delitzsch, why does the Author need to expound the Melchizedek? We might 
appeal also to Paul's reference to Ishmael and Hagar (Gal. iv.) with the same 

If we take our present text, ver. 13 b, as authority for such inter[)retation, it 
puts the Old Testament in a most extraordinary light, and makes it a book 
that we must despair of understanding. Its best meaning is not its plain 
meaning, but one that lies beyond the scope of our vision ; and we cannot hope 
to know what we read, without an inspired interpreter. We know it only 
here and there by the few inter])retations that we find in the New Testament. 
This is the sort of thing tliat drives one to the false position of Bisliop Marsh 
respecting types, viz., that " the only possible source of information on this 
subject," — viz., what are types, — "is scrijjture itself" (Comp. Fairl)airn: 
T)'pology Bk. I., ch. 1.) For if we take such interpretations (as those that are 
made on the assumption that Paul, in the passage before us, and i. 5-13, is 
appealing to scripture as authority for what lie afiirms) and attempt iu our 
turn to ex])ound other scripture in the same fashion for ourselves, then the 
business will be monopolized by those that possess the most imagination. 

It is to be noticed that the interpretation of Delitzsch is abortive after all its 
labor. For it does not reach a result that makes Isa. viii. 18 (our ver. 13 b) 
any proof that Jesus calls the redeemed " His brethren." For the speaker still 

64 WHEN RETURNING TO HEAVEN. [li. 11 h, 13. 

to whom He was sent, sustaining, along with them, the same rela- 
tion to God, and saying : "I will put my trust in him," ver. 13 a, 
(from Isa. viii. 17). The fitness of this allusion appears thus : 
" Isaiah, through whom Jehovah spoke, was just as those whom 
he taught, consigned to live in hope that God would fulfill what 
He had promised through himself, and, putting his trust in God, 
to await the time when He would again turn His face to the house 
of Jacob. As this was true of him by whom the Old Testament 
word was spoken, so also was it true of Him by whom God has 
spoken now." ^ As corroborative of the Apostle's representation, 
we may recall John. v. 30 : "I can of myself do nothing ; I seek 
not mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me." (Comp. 
John vi. 38.) 

Third, he represents the Son returning with those bretliren, the 
"many sons whom he leads to glory," saying : "Behold I and the 
children which God hath given me," ver. 13 6; (Isa. viii. 18). 

The children are so called as children of God,^ and not of Jesus, 
to whom they are brethren. He owns them at the threshold of 
glory where he once was without them, the only Son. This 
recalls John xvii. 22, 24 : " And the glory which thou hast given 
me I have given unto them. Father, that which thou hast given 

calls attention to himself and his children; which is no proof that he calls them 
brethren and is not ashamed of the relation. Moreover, we may notice again 
what was remarked above on i. 5-13 and this sort of interpretation, that 
whereas at i. 5-13 every effort was made to show that God was to be regarded 
as the speaker of the words referred to, where a Psalmist was the actual speaker, 
here, on the contrary, the same arts are used to show that, when a Psalmist or 
Prophet spoke, it was really the Messiah speaking. Such efforts tend to reduce 
the Old Testament to an enigma. 

In view of these considerations, we may be sure that the common view, viz.: 
that the quotations before us are an appeal to Old Testament proof, is incorrect. 
The view given in our explanations involves no such perplexities. It may 
disappoint the reader by its simplicity, and after being used to fancy so much, 
he may exclaim, is that all ! But one of the hardest lessons is to " learn not 
to despise the simplicity of the truth." When we take it in its simplicity, we 
begin to learn its true greatness. So it was with some Galileans after they had 
exclaimed concerning Christ : " Is not this the carpenter's Son ? " We believe 
that such will be result in respect to the explanation given in this commentary 
of Paul's use of scriptural language in i. 5-13 ; ii. 12, 13. 

^ von. Hof. * Comp. Davidson. 


me, I will that, where I am, they also may be with me ; that 
they may behold my glory which thou hast giveu me ; for thou 
lovedst me before the foundation of the world." 

Thus representing the truth according to the known facts of 
the manifestation of the divine Saviour on earth, and doing it in 
this scriptural language, the Apostle sets forth the condescension 
and love of His behavior in a way both grand and tenderly 
aifecting, and fitted to awake our adoration. 

The passage (11 b — 13), that we have just been considering, ex- 
plains the subjective attitude of the Son toward those whom He 
sanctified. He unequivocally owned his relationship to them as 
being "of one" Father. But this does not sound the depths of 
what appeared in the Son when He came to speak for God to us. 
The Author continues to show ichat the Son did, after haviner 
shown wdiat the Father did (vers. 9, 10), and he adds another 
statement. It, too, is the logical inference from the statement, 
ver. 11 a, that "the Sanctifier and sanctified are all of one," and 
not from the statement that the Son owns them as brethren. In 
other words, what follows, like the act of owning His brethren, is 
the consequence of the fact that they are brethren, i. e., children 
of one Father with Himself 

Ver. 14 a. Since then the children have been sharers of blood 
and flesh, he also himself in like manner partook of them. 

The version of 1881 translates: "sharers in blood and flesh," 
in order to mark that a different word {xoivw^iw) is used from 
what appears in the apodosis, viz., ixz-i-^w, translated : partook 
of the same. We use the same method for like reason. Alford, 
with appeal to Bleek, represents the common view, that the said 
verbs are almost convertible, " so that a minute distinction of 
meaning is hardly to be sought for." It seems probable, how- 
ever, that the use of different verbs marks a difference of meaning, 
which may be to mark a different object.^ In the instance before 
us it may mark that the object referred to in rwv aurwv is different 
from that governed by xexotvaivrjxev, in which case rwv adrwv 

' Such is tlie effect in the illustrative quotation repeated by Alford from 
Bleek, ef laov tuv klvSvvuv fiETaax^vreg, ovx o/iioiug rfj^ tvxv^ £K0iv6vr/ffav. 


would refer to rd TzaiSia} Then ixeriaxev would be equivalent 
to fiiruxo? iyivETo, and the correlative of what is stated iii. 14, 
liiroyoi too J. yeyova/iev: "we have become companions of Christ." 
(Comp. vii. 13.) 

Taking that construction, the Apostle says : Since the children 
have partaken of blood and flesh he also took part equally with them. 
This construction, with the reference of twv abrmv to rd izacdta, 
makes it easy to understand why the Author selects the adverb 
TrapaTtXrjfftux^. instead of, say, 6;iot(u?. He would signify how the 
Son took his place alongside of His brethren on an equal footing 
to endure what they suffered as they endured, and on the same 
ground contend with and conquer death.^ This construction con- 
textually seems preferable to the common one that is given in the 
translation above, and might be chosen here without hesitancy, 
were it not that it is so entirely singular. The result of it is not 
doctrinally diiferent from the common rendering. For if Christ 
became the companion of His brethren in the respect mentioned 
in the present statement, it was in order that He might partake as 
they did of blood and flesh. But stated in the form as just con- 
strued, the representation is more graphic, and connects more 
appropriately with the graphic representations of vers. 12, 13. 
Moreover, so construed, p-srid/ev in the aorist, becomes natural, as 
it describes the historically past condition wherein Christ was 
such a companion. This obviates the inquiry : why not the per- 
fect, as z£Z(nvtovijz$i/? 

The Author says the children, meaning the same thing as 
" many sons," ver. 10 ; but he naturally exchanges this expres- 
sion for that used in ver. 13, and thereby marks the identity of 
the subject. He says they have been sharers, and the perfect 
tense denotes that the situation remains the same. 

But the question is raised : sharers with whom f It is com- 
mon to supply " one another." ^ But -/.(jcycoviw most commonly 

' A reference not suggested by any one known to us except Alford, and ex- 
pressly rejected by him without comment. Alford follows Bleek. 

* Comp. Lexx. Passow, Liddell and S. sub voc. ; and Herod I. 77, ayuvaadfj-Evog 
ovTO) TTapa/rrTaiaiuq Kvpoq. " Cyrus : fighting at equal advantage." 

* deWette, Bleek, Alford, von Hof., etc. 


has a dative of the person ^ different from the snbject ; and it 
seems quite as natural to supply " others not children." This 
consists with the representation of ver. 10 (see above), where 
" sons " marks a distinction from " man " in general, of ver. 6 
sqq. And this receives further confirmation when, in ver IG, the 
Author so pointedly states that Christ " laid hold on a seed of 
Abraham to help them." By blood and flesh, of which, the chil- 
dren partook, and Jesus with them, is meant human nature as it 
is subject to death, or over A\hich death has power, and according 
to which men are mortal. This is plain from the following 
inference, which states, first of all (a), that thus Christ became 
subject to death equally with others, and then (b), what He 
effected by undergoing death. 

The statement of ver 14 a is the premise to a conclusion 
that follows immediately : 

Ver. 14 6. In order that by death he might bring to nought 
him that has the power of death, that is the devil. 

The suddenness with which our Author introduces this men- 
tion of the devil tends to confound the modern reader. (Comp. 
at i. 4, on the similar introduction of angels as a subject.) It 
must be assumed that he assumes on the part of the first readers 
a familiarity with the notion presented, that requires no intro- 
duction. We may assume that the pith of what is meant here is 
familiar Christian doctrine to us ; more familiar to us in the 
abstract form of presenting it, than in the concrete and personal 
form used in our text. We have in fact the same difference that 
we noticed at i. 14 ; ii. 2, viz., the difference between the manner 
of presenting a tiiith in this epistle and of presenting the same 
in Romans and Galatians. The recurrence of this use of a con- 
crete and personal representation in preference to the abstract, 
denotes a deliberate and consistent purpose of the Author. That 
purpose seems to be to bring forward every spiritual and personal 
agency that has anything to do with religion, and confront it with 
Jesus Christ, and to affirm the complete superiority of the latter 
in every respect. 

In Rom. v. 12, 14, Paul says : "Sin entered into the world, and 

^ Buttm. Gram., p. 100, and Bleek, in loc. 


death by sin;" and "death reigned." In Rom. viii. 3, he 
says : " God sending his own Son in the likeness of sin- 
ful flesh, and (as an offering) for sin, condemned sin in the 
flesh." In our chapter it is said that God, in bringing many 
sons unto glory, made the Captain of their salvation perfect 
through suffering (ver. 10), and that the Son partook of blood 
and flesh that He might through death nullify Him that has the 
power of death, that is the devil (ver. 14). And the effect of 
the power of death is represented (ver. 15), as a life-long fear 
that operated as a bondage. " Death reigning," and " the devil 
having the power of death " are kindred notions. And so are 
" the Son in the likeness of sinful flesh," and " Jesus taking part 
equally with the children in their partaking of blood and flesh." 
And so, furthermore, are " the Son condemning sin in the flesh," 
and " Jesus through death nullifying Him that has the power of 
death." Comp. also 2 Tim. i. 10. 

We are obliged to borrow such light from sources outside of 
our epistle, and thus acquire some equality with the original 
readers. We may excuse ourselves from investigating Jewish 
notions relative to death and the devil's part in it.^ The purely 
scriptural notions of the present passage are the ones imj)ortant to 
us. We may content ourselves, for the rest, with what is plainly 
intimated by the Apostle's words before us. The text affirms 
indirectly that the devil has the power of death. " Death is sub- 
jected to him, and must be subservient to his purposes. Not that 
the devil has power to kill when he will ; nor that being sub- 
jected to death is to be ascribed to the devil. . . But, assuming 
these limitations, the devil has the power of death so far as he 
has the power to use it against men. As soon as death (in God's 
own time) overtakes a man, then the devil's will is fulfilled to 
get this man wholly in his pouter. Death delivers the souls of 
men into his hand. For that which falls into the power of death, 
falls also into his power. In the hands of the devil, death is a 
mighty agent in destroying the souls of men. Making power- 
less him that has the power of death consists, accordingly, in 
this, that he is deprived of the ability to use death as a means of 

^ In these respects, consult Alford, Del., in loc, Kiehm, p. 556 sqq., 654 sqq. 

ii. 15] WHAT IS THE DEVIL's POWER. 69 

getting and holding men in his power. ' Through death ' Christ 
made powerless him that has the power of death. The Author 
does not say hy his death, because in the ' oxymoron ' he Avould 
emphasize that the devil was overcome ' precisely by that which 
is his sphere of power/ ^ therefore, that Christ turned the devil's 
weapon against Himself, and thereby got the victory over him. 
But of course the death of Christ is meant." ^ 

The representations of this quotation should be accepted with 
the modification, that the nullification of the devil, according to 
the Apostle's present statement as qualified by vers. 10, 15, 16, 
extends no further than the rescue of God's many sons whom 
Jesus led to glory. The devil has the power of death still, (rov rd 
xpdrog £'/()VT(x) but it was nullified with respect to those mentioned. 
The Apostle Peter also speaks of this power in the passage cited 
above,^ but calls it (by implication) the power of death = Hades. 
He says : " It was not possible that He (Jesus) should be holdcn 
of it {£'i(7f^ai otz aozob — held iu its power)." By implication 
this says, that such as David were so holden when they died. The 
foregoing quotation is to be accepted with the further modifica- 
tion, that, as far as it concerns true beKevers, it applies to the 
situation previous to the intervention of Jesus, described in the 
text. After that intervention, viz.. His perfection and the rescue 
here described, the situation is for ever changed for those that 
obey Him. (Comp. v. 9.) Moreover, by : through death the 
Apostle may here (as Peter at Acts ii. 24) mean death iu a local 
sense, and 5cd * is then to be taken locally. Through the con- 
dition or domain itself where the devil has power, Jesus nullified 
the devil. This construction would mark yet another parallel 
between our text and Rom. viii. 3, noted above. Christ iu the 
flesh condemned sin, and through Hades destroyed the power of 
the devil. 

What this nullifying of the power of the devil was, is repre- 
sented in the closely (paratactically) conjoined statement : 

Ver. 15. And might deliver those as many as by fear of death 
were all their life subject to bondage. 

Won Hof., Schriftbew, ii., p. 274; also, his Coram, in lac. Comp. Chrys. 
* Riehm, pp. 557, 558. 'Acts ii. 24. * See Grimm's Lex., sub. voc, A. I. 


That he might deliver, iuclireetly affirms that He did deliver. 
The rescue was from the power of death ; not from the bondage 
described in the following words, which is described as a thing 
of the past. Those, refers as a demonstrative pronoun, to the 
subjects expressed by "sons," ver. 10, "brethren," ver. 11, and 
"children," vers. 13, 14.^ The o<7oc = as many as, that rarely 
occurs after a demonstrative pronoun, seems to imply others that 
had not the fear described in the following words,^ and so to 
define, in an exclusive way, those that received the benefit of this 
rescue.^ Such a qualified statement of the extent of this rescue 
is required by the representation that the devil has the power of 
death (ver. 14). Were all rescued that were or might come under 
his power, his power would be ended. 

Those that were delivered are described by saying : by fear of 
death they were all their life subject to bondage. 

They were subject all their life, describes the situation as a 
thing of the past, and as characterizing the time while they lived. 
It is implied that, when they died, what they feared respecting 
death became actual experience. 

" The life of men before the incarnation and the Lord's vic- 
tory over death, was a perpetual fear of dying. The very Psalms, 
in which the saints of old lay bare their inmost souls are proof 
of tliis.^ The contemplation of death and of the dark, cheerless 
Hades in the background, was, even for the faithful among Israel 
under the Old Testament, unendurable. They sought to hide * 
themselves from it with their faith in Jehovah, and so in the 
infinite bosom of love, whence one day the Conqueror of death 
and the prince of death should issue." ^ 

The foregoing admirable representation of the sentiment with 
which saints before Christ viewed death makes it probable that 
the Apostle means by his descriptive designation to refer only to 
such as the subjects of the deliverance mentioned in the text. It 

^ Bengel. ^ Against Alford. ^ Contrast Ps. Ixxiii. 4 ; x. 6. 

*Ps. vi. 5; XXX. 9; Ixxxviii. 11 ; cxv. 17; Isa. xxxvii. 18. 

^ Delitzsch ; comp. also Riehm, in Stud. u. KriL, 1870, p. 164 sqq., reviewing 
Klosterman on : The hope of future deliverance from the state of death in Old Testa- 
ment saints, Ootha, 1868. 

ii. 16.] CHRIST HELPS MAN's CAUSE. 71 

favors tliis view to remember that the Psalmist says of the 
ungodly: "There are no bands in their death" (Ps. Ixxiii. 4), 
and : "There is no fear of God before his eyes" (Ps. xxxvi. 1). 
This reference, beside the support it has in the subjects " sons," 
"brethren," "children" (vers. 10, 11, 13, 14), is confirmed by 
the statement of the following verse : 

Ver. 16. For verily not of angels doth he take hold, but he 
taketh hold of a seed of Abraham. 

The (JijTTou = verily, {a~. ley. and not found at all in the LXX.) ' 
gives an emphasis, and even an indignant emphasis to the present 
denial. The verb iTziXaiL^aMzrai means " to lay hold of in order 
to help," the i-i in composition relating to the object laid hold 
of, and not to the subject who lays hold. The rendering of the 
English Version of 1611 understood it, with the great majority 
of commentators, in the latter way, and translated : he took on 
him, and supplies the notion " nature ; " and thus the second 
clause of our verse became erroneously a favorite proof text for 
the doctrine that the Son of God assumed human nature ; and 
it is commonly so used stiil.^ As fur back as Castellio, the true 
rendering was asserted, and warmly combatted by Beza. It is 
of comparatively recent date that commentators have agreed on 
the above correct rendering. As Delitzsch remarks : " This 
example may be added to the proofs, that exegetical tradition is 
not infallible." 

The former misapprehension and false rendering of our verse 
was due to a misapprehension of its logical connection. The 
mention of angels here shows that the Author has not passed 
from the thought stated in ver. 5. There he has affirmed that : 
" not to angels did God subject the world that should afterwards 
be." We inferred there (see above) that the affirmative contrary 
of this statement is, that God did subject it to men. From ver. 
5, i. e., in vers. 6-15, the Apostle has been proving and illus- 
trating this affirmative. Proving it by appeal to what the Old 
Testament affirms, and by comment thereon (vers. 6-8), and by 
pointing to Jesus as the one in whom it is realized (ver. 9). 
Illustrating it by affirming God's providence in the saving work 

1 Alford. "^ Comp. Alford's full history of the text ; and see Del. 


that the Son did (ver. 10), and by representing the Son's own 
attitude in reference to those He sanctified (vers. 11-13), and by 
what He did in consequence of His being, with them, of one 
Father (vers. 14-15). All that has been said, vers. 6-15, rep- 
resents a human cause, viz., a world to come that was for sons 
of God, and Jesus as undertaking that cause for them. Our 
present verse affirms this expressly : he laid hold on (lie helped) ^ 
a seed of Abraham. But it is coupled with a negative contrary : 
he laid not hold on (he helped not) angels. Thus we see the same 
antithesis of ver. 5 reappear. It is in our ver. 16 that the 
Author expressly states the affirmative contraiy of the negative 
statement of ver. 5. The For of our verse, therefore, while 
referring immediately to what is stated ver. 15, extends back to 
the statement of ver. 5, of which statement ver. 15 is the con- 
vincing proof. 

What the Apostle affirms, then, in our verse, is, not that Christ 
saves men and not angels. l-tXaiJ.^, does not mean "to save." 
Moreover, who could entertain a notion of angels and salvation 
having any relation to one another ? ' How flat must be the 
emphatic denial of something that no one ever thought of affirm- 
ing ! What the Apostle says is, that Christ does not help the 
cause of angels, but that He does help the cause of a seed of 
Abraham. The angels, too, had a cause, i. e., a commission, as 
we have seen.^ We have seen, too, that what the Son came to 
reveal is a salvation for men from consequences attending the 
charge committed to angels.* The Apostle now, after the repre- 
sentations of vers. 6-15, affirms that Christ takes part with the 
latter to help them, and not with the former to help them. 
The occasion for the tone of indignant emphasis in saying it, is 
the same that calls for the statement of ver. 5 and the subsequent 
representations. It is the same emotion that repeatedly reveals 
itself in Paul, where he deals with a tendency to bring men into 
subjection to the law. Compare his : " Received ye the Spirit by 

1 Alford. 

^ Except one were to think of " angels that kept not their first estate," Jude 
6 ; comp. 2 Pet. ii. 4 ; which is wholly inadmissable here. 
^ See above on i. 14 ; ii. 2. * See above on ii. 1, 3. 

ii. 16.] "E-datJ.[id\>ea&ai A SEED OF ABRAHAM. 73 

the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith ? . . . He 
that supplieth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among 
you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of 
faith," Gal. iii. 2, 5. It is much to the point here to recall the 
words of Christ: "Think not that I will accuse you to the 
Father ; there is one that accuseth you, even JNIoses, on whom 
ye have set your hope," John v. 45. And again : " I came not 
to judge the world, but to save the world," John xii. 47. 

Our verse says he taketh hold, iu the present tense, because it 
refers to the present help of salvation now available.^ It says 
also : a seed of Abraham, wJiere we would expect the Apostle to 
say the seed of Adam, or to use some other generic term. This 
is because we are more used to apprehend the truth as it 
would be spoken to Gentiles. But the Apostle is here writing 
to Christian Jews, and it is with express fitness to them and 
their relation to " the word spoken by angels " (ver. 2) that he 
says Jesus lays hold on a seed of Abraham. 

Though the view of our verse given above is not at all that 
of von Hofmann, yet what he says on the word l-^daij.^.^ and 
the seed of Abraham is so admirable, and so easily adapted to 
that view that it is but just to reproduce it. 

" The l-iXaiJ.^a'>z(7fyai here is the same as that at viii. 9, where it 
is the (LXX.) rendering of that same pnnn in Jer. xxxi. 32, that 
in Isa. xli. 9, is inexactly translated by wjTilaii[i('iyz<THtu. In both 
these instances the representation is this, that Jehovah has not 
left Israel to itself, but has laid hold of it, in the one instance to 
take it to Himself, in the other to lead it out of Egypt. And 
such is the meaning in the passage before us.^ AVhen Jesus 
extends His hand to lay hold, it is to such as are Abraham's 
seed. That they are so called (and not men) in contrast with 
angels, is to be explained by the epistle being destined for Jew- 
ish readers ; yet only so far as so destining it involves a con- 
nection with what pertains to the Old Testament. Not, however, 
in the sense that the Author avoided reference to the Gentiles in 
order not to offend his readers.^ He means the seed of Abraham 

' Against Davidson. * Comp. Del. 

^ Against Grotius, Tholuck, Bleek, de Wette, Liin., etc. 


not differently from Isa. xli. 8, which passage he had in mind ; 
viz., not dii-ectly as a designation for Christians in general/ still 
less for the fleshly descendants of Abraham as such/ but, in 
the sense of redemptive history-, as designating the Church of 
that promise given to Abraham.^ In the Old Testament period 
it had its existence in the form of a nationality^ that traced its 
origin to Abraham, and thus the Saviour found it, and reached 
out His saving hand to it.* As it is the Apostle's purpose now 
to point to the present fulfillment in Christ Jesus of the Old 
Testament promise, he names as the subject of the redeeming 
act of Jesus, not a plm-ality of individual men, but the Chm'ch 
of the promise of redemptive history that descended from 
Abraham, which, of course, is now the Christian Church." Thus 
far von Hofmann. But his sagacious reference to viii. 7 sqq. 
gives a clue to a more precise notion of the deliverance that the 
Apostle has in mind in the passage before us. It is but another 
aspect of that which is represented at viii. 7 sqq. as release from 
the conditions of the old covenant, and exchanging them for the 
new. Here it is, as we foimd at vers. 2, 3, a salvation from the 
consequences of the word spoken by angels. That especially 
shows the fitness of the specific expression : a seed of Abraham. 
The law mediated by angels was imposed upon a seed of Abra- 
ham. The hand that gave deliverance from its consequences 
must first of all lay hold of that seed. 

T^'ith the emphatic statement of this ver. 16 the Apostle 
finishes what he has to say about Christ and angels, and does not 
again recur to them in this respect. We notice that the issue of 
this representation is like that of the representations that are to 
follow, viz., the representations of the former priesthood yielding to 
the priesthood of Christ ; the law giving way to the better pro- 
nnse ; the old covenant giving place to the new. Here it is the 
preceding agents of revelation ceding place to the present agent, 
viz., the Son of God, and the condition brought about bv the 
angels as " m in istering spirits," i. 14, Welding to a "world to 
come," ver. 5, that Christ inaugurates. A^Tiat we have been in- 

^ Against Bohme, Kuinol. ^ Comp. Del. ^ Comp. Del. 

*Comp. e. g., Matt. i. 21. 

ii. 17 a.] JESUS made like his brethren. 75 

vestigating is, therefore, no iutroductiou to the main subject of 
the epistle, viz., to the purpose of showing Judaizing readers that 
the old dispensation is superceded. It is that subject itself, and 
the passage i. 4; ii. 16, is the construction of the first parallel of 
attack on the position the Author besieges, showing first that 
Christ is superior to angels, i. 4—13, and then that Plis agency- 
counteracts the consequences of theirs. He has established that 
parallel, and now he uses the advantage to press an appropriate 
inference (vers. 17, 18) which, as is his wont, he follows with an 
earnest exhortation. The inference is as follows : 

Yer. 1 7 o. Whence it behooved Mm to be made like his brethren 
in all respects. 

The whence refers to the statement that Jesus " lays hold on a 
seed of Abraham." His doing so involved the necessity of what is 
now stated. For a necessity the Author affirms that it was by- 
using the word axpedev. But presented thus, as the consequence 
of that free act by which the Son lays hold on a seed of Abraham 
to help them, the necessity is represented as a freely accepted one. 
At the same time, there is implied the truth that by this means 
and no other could the Son save men. 

What was necessary- was, that the Son should become like his 
brethren in all respects. The emphasis is on xara -rivr«, which 
brings in more than has already been affirmed, and is not to be 
understood as saying for substance the same as ver. 14. Besides 
'* partaking of blood and flesh," the Author would here affirm that 
Jesus was made like His brethren in every respect, which is not 
necessarily involved in the previous statement, or at least might 
be overlooked by the readers. That Christ partook of blood and 
flesh made Him mortal along with others. But to say He was 
mortal does not involve that He was also subject to temptation. 
And without the latter He would not be made like his brethren 
in every respect. Hence the importance of this additional notion 
now introduced. 

The Apostle's statement does not in the least involve the notion 
that Jesus became like His brethren in the matter of sinning, and 
there is no occasion here for expressly disclaiming that, as is done 
iv. 1 5. There is no express mention of the particulars in which He 


became like them, so that there is no call to disclaim one erro- 
neous inference more than another. The unreasonableness of 
such an inference might be repelled in a form like Paul's indig- 
nant lano^uao;e elsewhere : " How could He that came to free us 
from sin, Himself live in sin ? " ^ 

The reason of this necessity of being made like His brethren in 
every respect is now added, just as in ver. 14 the reason is given 
why Jesus became like them in that partial respect (blood and 
flesh) mentioned there, viz. : 

Ver. 17 b. In order that he might become a merciful and faith- 
ful high priest in things pertaining to God, to expiate the sin of the 

A diiference appears between the purpose stated here, and that 
stated ver. 14 (both introduced by tVa). In ver. 14 the Son's 
likeness to His brethren was in order that He might nullify their 
enemy ; in other words, deliver them by removing something 
external to them. In the present verse. His likeness is repre- 
sented to be in order that He might remove something that is 
part of themselves, viz., their sins. He became partaker of blood 
and flesh, i. e., mortal, that He might be victorious over death.^ 
He became m every respect like His brethren, that, being tempted. 
He might become a qualified High Priest to expiate their sins. 
" The sting of death is sin ; and the power of sin is the law." ^ 

The Apostle says a High Priest, and not merely a priest. It 
is not merely to the priesthood of Christ that he now turns our 
attention ; but to Christ as our High Priest. Thus the priestly 
acts to which he refers, and the qualifications he imputes to 
Christ as such, must be understood by what the scripture repre- 
sents of the high-priestly character and functions, and not by the 
priestly character and functions in general. 

The qualities here emphasized are, that He might become 
a merciful and faithful High Priest. Merciful is named first, and 
with such emphasis in the original, that faithful, i. e., " reliable, 
to be trusted," appears as the consequence of it. 

In iv. 14 ; v. 10, the Author amplifies the thought that he in- 
troduces by these words, and we may postpone our fuller con- 

1 Cbmp. Eom. vi. 2. " Comp. 1 Cor. xv. 50-57. ^ 1 Cor. xv. 56. 


sideratiou of it to that place. But in order to understand our 
present passage, it is important to anticipate here that, as the 
later passage shows, the likeness now pointed to is one that 
brings the Son into perfect "sympathy" with His brethren as 
persons "compassed with infijiity," and enables Him to "bear 
gently with the ignorant and erring," because "he hath been in 
all points tempted like as we are." The Sou was made like his 
brethren in every respect in ordei' that lie might become all this 
as their High Priest. The Apostle says : might become. It is 
common to ask in this connection : when did Christ begin to be 
High Priest?^ Some suppose that the text signifies that it was 
when He was exalted to heaven where He began to minister in 
the true sanctuary which the Lord pitched.^ But the Apostle's 
representations, v. 1—3, show that the condition of being "com- 
passed with infirmity," was essential to Christ's high-priestly 
character, and was antecedent to His offering the sacrifice that 
expiated sin, as the same was true of every high priest (v. 1). 
That condition began when the Son "was made like his brethren" 
in every respect," and that was when He became man. He be- 
came High Priest when He was made something expressly in 
order to His acting as High Priest. He was so made in a most 
essential quality when He was made like His brethren in every 

He became a High Priest in things pertaining to God,* says 
the Apostle, thus denoting the respect in Avhieh he would have 
the reader contemplate this high-priestly function, viz., in respect 
to God above.^ What that is, precisely, he explains in the fol- 
lowing clause : to expiate the sins of the people. 

The word IMffxeff^^m has nowhere i*n Scripture the meaning 
common to profane Greek, as if God were made propitious toward 
sinners (much less toward sin itself) by some sacrifice.^ More- 
over, the general phrase : in things pertaining to God, (r« -pda rdv 
^sov), seems to be used by the Author expressly to obviate such 

^ Comp. Davidson in he. ^ viii. 2 sqq. ' Comp. Davidson. 

* Comp. V. 1 ; Rom. xv. 17. * von Hof. 

«See Del. Comp. Eiehm. "Der Begriff der Siihne im. A. Test. Stud. u. 
Krit. 1877, I. 

78 ' IXdffxsad^at. [ii. 17 6. 

a notion here. Also the statement of ver. 10 precludes such a 
notion in the present connection. The context of our expression 
shows that both Father and Son were agents in what is here 
called expiating sins. It is the sins themselves that are dealt 
with. What is eifected is, that they are "put away/'^ and that 
those who are guilty of them are cleansed^ from them. By 
saying that the Son expiated the sins, the Author means to ex- 
press that it was done by a sacrifice; as also it must be;^ and, 
having pointed to the Son as High Priest, he thus expresses that 
He' was such for the purpose of doing what only a priest could 
properly do, viz., oifer sacrifice. 

The High Priest is said to expiate the sins of the people.* Fol- 
lowing, as this does, the statement of ver. 16, viz., that "Jesus 
laid hold of a seed of Abraham," the people can only mean the 
covenant people of God, in the usual Old Testament sense.* 
Moreover, this agrees with what has been already noticed^ of the 
Author's manner of addressing himself to Jewish readers, and 
confining the immediate scope of his teaching to their point of 
view. By the sins of the people, then, is meant not simply what 
would be meant by the sins of men expressed generally. It 
means what that expression would suggest to an Israelite when, 
not his sins in particular, but his sins as one of the covenant 
people would be referred to. In other words, it is the same 
notion that would be called up by the language of Jeremiah, 
quoted viii. 12 ; x. 17. "And their sins and their iniquities will 
I remember no more." This involves the notion of that " word " 
of commandments and prohibitions "spoken by angels," and the 
" transgression and disobedience " (ver. 2) which determined the 
condition of the people previous to the revelation by the Son who 
brings salvation. In that condition the sins of the people were 
the chiefest and first thing to be remembered. The work of the 
Saviour and of salvation must be to cause them to be remembered 
no more. That must be effected by an expiation of the sins ; and 
to do that for a ivhole people the Saviour must be a High Priest. 

Again, the suddenness with which the Apostle introduces this 

1 ix. 26. ^ ix. 14. 2 ix. 22. * Comp. xiii. 12. 

6 Comp. iv. 9 ; v. 3 ; vii. 11, 27 ; ix. 7. « e. g. at ii. 2, 3. 


new subject, viz., Christ as High Priest, must impress every 
reader. Some^ think this is witliout adequate preparation; and 
in reply to this the eifurt is made by others^ to show that such 
representations as "cleansing sins" (i. 3), "sanctifying" (11. 11), 
and the mediatorial " leadership" in the work of salvation (11. 10), 
as priestly acts and offices, and the death of Christ for every one 
(ii. 9) as a sacrificial death, fairly introduce the present theme. 
But the eifort is not satisfactory. It is evident tliat the new 
subject is introduced as new, and without mediation.^ We can 
say, however, that death and sin are but segments of the same 
circle, and the mention of one calls up the notion of the other. 
Accounting for the removal of the one will naturally be associated 
with the account of the removal of the other. Hezekiah exclaims : 
"Thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of cor- 
ruption ; for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back." (Isa. 
xxxviii. 17.) Deliverance from death demands the removal of 
sins. The removal of sins demands a priest and a sacrifice. 
Hence the Author fittingly, without preface, introduces Jesus, 
our High Priest as his next subject. Its amplification is taken 
up at iv. 14 sqq. For the present the Apostle states only one 
comprehensive truth involved in that high priesthood as just 

Ver. 18. For in that lie has suffered being tempted himself, lie 
is able to succour them that are tempted. 

For introduces an explanation of how Jesus became " merciful," 
and consequently "faithful," as affirmed 17 6. It was by being 
tempted himself. And the notion "faithfiil," i e., reliable, is re- 
sumed and reiterated in the expression : he is able to succour them 
that are tempted ; and so the clause introduced by For is equally 
explanatory of that. What is meant by the " ability " and the 
"tempting" mentioned here must appear from the foregoing ex- 
planatory clause. Christ "M-as tempted himself" (aorist parti- 
ciple), and "has suffered" (perfect) a suffering, indeed, as the 
perfect intimates, that is a thing of the past. From the imme- 
diately preceding reference to Christ as expiating sin (ver. 16), 
and the previous use of the word "to suffer," as referring to 

' e. g. de Wette. * e. g. Del. ' So von Hof. 


Christ's death (ii. 9, 10; comp. v. 8), we must understand: has 
suffered to refer here to the same thing. This shows that " the 
temptation" now mentioned relates to death, and means what 
those endured who apprehended death. Such "temptations" 
Christ himself endured before he suffered deatli, as the Apostle 
explicitly shows at v. 7.^ He does not mean that the actual 
dying was the temptation/ as will appear when we come to ex-r 
amine v. 7, 8. So, too, the temptations of those that are tempted 
are from the apprehension of death, not their dying itself. It is 
not merely his being tempted that makes Christ able to succour 
the tempted. It is the twofold fact, viz., that He was tempted 
by the apprehension of death, and has suffered death, that makes 
Him able. The emphasis, however, of the present statement 
rests on : being tempted, which thus involves connecting aurut^ with 
T.tipaai'^si^ being tempted himself.^ 

The evidence that such is the emphasis, is : (a) that there 
would be no progress in the thought of the context, if the text 
affirmed that, by having suffered death, Christ is able to succour, 
as much having been already affirmed, vers. 10 and 14, 15 ; (b) 
the statement of ver. 17, with which this is logically connected, 
viz., that Christ became a merciful High Priest. As the Apostle 
shows at iv. 15 ; v. 1, 2, it was by undergoing temptation that 
Christ became sympathetic, and, in that sense, compassionate. 

We can now determine in what sense the Apostle here ascribes 
to Christ ability to succour. The succour is to them that are 
tempted by the apprehension of death. This subject, viz., his 
readers as Israelites, and the point of view from which they are 
contemplated, remains the same as in all the previous context 
from ver. 1. They are those who need to escape the consequence 
of transgression and disobedience (ver. 2) ; who, on account of the 
sufferings of death have not their predestined glory and honor, 
or world to come, and need a Saviour, who, by suffering death, 
will secure for them that world-to-come (ver. 9) ; who were all 
their lives subject to the fear of death (ver. 15). 

As has been said, there is no change in the subjects of the 

^ Comp. Luke xxii. 28., ev roZf neipaafiolg /iov. ^Against Del. 

» So Liin., Del., Alford. 


saving grace here referred to, or in the point of view in wliich 
they are contemplated. But the Saviour Himself is rcpivsented 
in another a.spect. As a suffering Savioui', He has been portrayed 
from ver. 9 onward, including tiie present text. But that suf- 
fering is represented in different relations. In vers. 11-13 it is 
condescension to the same lot and condition with His brethren. 
In ver. 14, that suffering of death nullifies the danger of those 
brethren ab extra, by nullifying the devil's power of death. 
In ver. 17, the same suffering nullifies the danger ab intra, by 
expiating the sins of the people, i. e., brethren. In the present 
verse (taken with ver. 11 b, viz., the representation of Christ as 
merciful and faithful), that suffering, preceded as it was by being 
Himself tempted, shows that Christ is able to succour as one is 
only able to do who has himself experienced the same trouble that 
now" appeals to Him for help. This is called "ability" in 
Christ, with the same propriety that in iv. 15, it is denied of 
Him that He " cannot (//^^ Suvdiie^MrJ) sympathize ; " and affirmed 
of Him, V. 2, that He " can [(Juvd/j.svo'i) bear gently with the 
ignorant and erring." 

The Apostle affirms that Jesus is able to succour them that are 
tempted {(^wa-at . . . Tzecpa'^dfj.ivoc^, in the present tense). The con- 
dition of temptation continues, and is the condition of those on 
whom the Apostle presses the Saviour. Hence, he presents 
Jesus as able to save now. He is able now ; for, though His 
sufferings are past and He is at the right hand of the heavenly 
Majesty, He Himself was tempted. 

Having now set forth the superiority of the Son to all other 
foregoing agents of revelation, expressly His superiority to angels 
(chap, i.), and then represented the revelation of the Son as a 
salvation, and set forth the greatness of it .(chap, ii.), the Author 
now proceeds to direct attention to the person of this Son, Jesus, 
w^honi he has presented as a Pligh Priest. 

III. 1 . "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly call- 
ing, consider the apostle and high priest of our confession, Jesus. 

Wherefore, refers to the preceding context from i. 1 to the 
present, as appears from the way of stating the objeci who is to 
be considered, viz., Jesus. For He is described in terms that 



recapitulate the contents of what has been said to the present 
point. As Liineman explains : " When the Author says : 
Therefore, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our con- 
fession, it is only a Greek way of saying : Therefore, because 
Jesus is the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, consider 
Him well." Jesus is appropriately called Apostle, as being the 
agent sent forth to speak for God, and this title resumes the 
Author's representation of Him in chap. i. It is the only 
instance of His being so called in scripture. And it may be 
noted, that the other agents of revelation, with whom He is there 
compared, are all but called apostles also [dnoTTeXXom'Mx), i. 14. 
And Jesus is expressly called high priest at ii. 1 7, as the compre- 
hensive expression of that which He does in effecting " so great 

The terms also in which the Author addresses his readers : 
holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, reflect what has been 
represented in chaps, i. and ii. concerning the objects of Christ's 
saving work. Brethren, echoes the "many sons" and "my 
brethren" and "children," of ii. 10, 12, 13 ; and holy echoes the 
sentiment of " sanctifier " and "those that are sanctified," ii. 11. 
Thus says Delitzsch, who also continues : " The second term of 
the address : partakers of a heavenly calling, carries us back to 
i. 1 and ii. 3. The one calling, thus referred to, is the eternal 
Son,^ through whom God has now spoken, who came from 
heaven, and is returned thither. And hence the calling, coming 
through Him and manifested on earth, is heavenly (comp. -fj a./uj 
xA?7(7;?, Phil. iii. 14); that is, a call issuing from heaven* and 
inviting to heaven : its contents, the place whence it proceeds, 
and that to which it invites, all heavenly." 

In Rom. ix. 3 Paul calls the Israelites " my brethren." He 
did the same in the address in the synagogue of Antioch of 
Pisidia. And on the other hand, he " and his company " were 
on the same occasion addressed by the rulers of the synagogue : 
" Brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, 
say on." (Acts xiii. 1 5.) Such was also Peter's mode of address- 
ing his Jewish auditors on the day of Pentecost (Acts ii. 29). 

* But on this see below. 

iii. 1] HOLY brethren; heavenly calling. 83 

This use of the terra brethren, antedates the use of it as expressive 
of Christian fellowship. It is as fellow Israelites that Paul liere 
calls his readers brethren. He calls them holy, according to the 
well-known scriptural authority to which Peter appeals : " But 
like as he which called you is holy, be ye also holy, in all man- 
ner of living ; because it is written, ye shall be holy, for I am 
holy." (1 Pet. i. 15, 16; comp. Lev. xi. 44, 45; xix. 2; xx. 7, 
8, 26.) This, as something well understood, warranted the 
Author above in referring to the same objects as " them that are 
sanctified," and to Jesus as the "sanctifier" (ii. 11), without fur- 
ther explanation. 

Partakers of a heavenly calling, suggests the question: who is 
the subject that calls f " The subject (of xaXim = to call), is 
everywhere God; who is also termed 6 xaXih'^, Rom. viii. 11; 
Gal. V. 8, xaXi(7a<i, 1 Pet. i. 15, comp. v. 10."^ The present 
text is not an exception, and in this particular, the language of 
Delitzsch, quoted above, is misleading. It is as members of a 
people called of God to be holy that the Apostle addresses his 
readers as " holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling." 

This whole descriptive title, which includes the Apostle and 
his readers, defines the "«s" and "w6," i. i. ; ii. 1, 3. Being, as 
it is, the proper designation for those that were the covenant 
people of God, it shows that our Author treats his readers as 
such, without regard to any distinction between Jews and Chris- 
tians; in other words, he treats them as Peter did the same 
people on the day of Pentecost when lie would persuade them to 
receive and believe on their Messiah. 

The Apostle, however, addresses them here as those that act- 
ually believed. Thus, he says : " the Apostle and High Priest 
of our confession." By this he designates Jesus, so described, as 
the one that is the contents of the confession that Christians call 
theirs, in the same sense that, in the mouth of a Jew, i) rjiurijia 
I'^prj/rxsta =" onv religion" (Acts xxvi. 5), is that form of worship, 
that the Jew shares with his people.^ Jesus holds the place of 
Apostle and High Priest in our confession — where our is emphatic, 

^ Cremer's Lex. sub voce ; comp. Meyer on Gal. i. 6. * So von Hof. 


denoting antithesis to the confession in which Moses held so high 
a place. ^ 

Presenting Jesus thus for consideration, as the apostle and high 
priest of their confession, the Apostle gives the two heads of the 
following discourse to chap. x. 18.^ Under the head Jesus our 
apostle we have iii. 2-iv. 13. Under the head Jesus, our high 
priest, we have iv. 14— x. 18. 

Considering Jesus as the confessed Apostle of his readers, Paul 
compares Him with Hoses. Our reason for thinking that the 
comparison touches only Jesus as Apostle, is that nothing per- 
taining to His high-priestly functions comes under review ; as, 
indeed, there could not, seeing Moses' was no priest. Again he 
introduces a new subject without preface, and without pause in 
his sentence, just as he does the angels, i. 4, and the High Priest 
ii. 17. The reasons in the present case are as obvious as in the 
former. Jews called themselves Moses' disciples;^ and justly, 
for, as Paul says : their fathers were all baptized unto INIoses.* 
This might be pressed so as to seem in conflict with being a dis- 
ciple of Christ. It lay, then, directly in the way of our Author 
to show that Christ is superior to Moses. This needed no 
preface. He therefore proceeds with an objective predicate par- 
ticipal clause that describes Jesus as : 

Ver, 2. Being [who is] faithful to him that made him, as also [was] 
Moses in all his house. 

A comparison of Num. xii. 7 shows that it was God's house in 
which Moses was faithful. The present words express no dis- 
paragement of Moses. In one respect, they express an exact 
likeness between Moses and Christ. Both were faithful to God, 
who, by circumlocution, is here designated as him that made him. 
The simplest explanation of this making {jtoievJ) is, that God 
made each what he is represented in the context to be ; Jesus an 
Apostle and Hight Priest ; Moses, a servant in the house of God. 

^ Comp. Davidson. 

* So M'Lean, after Calvin, iii. 1 ; iv. 14 ; against Bleek. 

3 John ix. 28. 

nCor. X. 2. 


What they were when made is inseparable from the notion of 
them as made.^ 

AVe might suppose that the house of God is meant as the sphere 
in which both Moses and Jesus displayed their faithfulness,^ were 
it not that the following vers. 3-6 present a contrast between the 
two with respect to the house of God ; and especially were it not 
that the notion is precluded by the proper understanding of 
what is meant by the house of God. 

As the \^'ord faithful shows, the comparison in this case does 
not refer to revelation or speaking for God, as in the comparison 
with angels ; but to performaiiGe. The statement of the text is, 
that Jesus is faithful now, as Moses was faithful. What is tem- 
poral in the statement must be determined by the subjects of 
which the text speaks. Moses belonged to the past; "the 
Apostle and High Priest of our profession " belongs to the pre- 
sent. Moreover, the present is required by the statement of ver. 
3, " has been counted worthy," etc., and of ver. 6, that the Apostle 
and his readers are the house over which Jesus is appointed. Jesus is 
said to be faithful to him that made him, as He is said to be a 
"High Priest in things pertaining to God," ii. 17, viz., in order 
to express, that in the direction toward God must appear the 
qualification and performance that is essential to His being a 
perfect Apostle and High Priest for men. This emphasis in the 
direction of God seems intentional, as if to mark an antithesis to 
ii. 9—18, which represents the relation of Jesus in the direction 
of men and what makes Him a " faithful High Priest" (ii. 17), 
with reference to them. 

It is obvious, however, that if it were only the Author's in- 
tention to emphasize that Jesus must be qualified to be our 
Apostle in the direction toward God, he could do this more 
naturally than by the singular phrase : to him that made him. This 

' So e. g., Farrar ; who, notwithstanding, brings the grave charge that our 
phrase, and so our whole epistle, by the erroneous interpretation of our phrase, 
" lent itself with so much facility to the misinterpretation of heresy, that it 
acted as one of the causes which delayed the general acceptance of the Epistle 
by the Church." So the lamb lent itself to the malice of the wolf ! 

2 So Del. 

86 THE HOUSE OF GOD. [iii. 2. 

prompts the inquiry : ivhy does He use this expression f The 
sokition appears in the following verse. The Apostle is compar- 
ing Moses and Jesus with the intention of affirming the superior- 
ity of the latter, which he affirms in ver. 3, by saying, He was 
counted worthy of more glory than Moses. It prepares the way 
for that affirmation to remind the reader, that God was the Maker 
of both. The distinction in their official functions and difference 
in glory is thus referred to the sovereign will of Him who made 
them the functionaries they were and are : He accounted the one 
more glorious than the other. Such is the Apostle's motive in 
saying : " He was faithful to Him that made Him," instead of 
saying simply : " He was faithful to God." When he uses a 
cu'cumlocution for God, as he often does, the Apostle intends 

For the comparison he is making, in order to affirm the super- 
iority of Jesus, the Author mentions Moses in the most favorable 
light. For by the obvious reference to Num. xii. 7, he calls to 
mind the occasion when Moses received from God the most hon- 
orable vindication of all his life. Even Aaron and Miriam were 
signally rebuked for their pretension to some equality with Moses 
in the administration of the affairs of Israel. That event left 
Moses indisputably supreme, under God, in all the house of God, 
both on account of actual appointment and on account of being 
found faithful. 

By my house, in Num. xii. 7,^ can only be meant the same 
thing that Moses means when he speaks of " the house of Jeho- 
vah." ^ By that is always meant the Tabernacle. The rarity of 
the expression in the Pentateuch shows that it did not grow to 
any wider meaning. After the Temple was built, it meant the 
Temple. Yet though, after that event, the expressions : " house of 
the Lord;" "of God;" "Thy house;" "His house;" "My house," 
occur with great frequency, the meaning is never extended beyond 

^ Comp. on ii. 10. 

* Comp. Lange on Num. xii. 7, in the Lange-SchafF. Bib. Work. 
^Comp. Exod. xxiii. 19; Deut. xxiii 18 (19). In the Pentateuch, these, 
with Num. xii. 7, are the only instances. Joshua vi. 24; ix. 23. 

iii. 3.] AT god's disposal. • 87 

a reference to the Temple ; except as the Temple may represent 
the cultus of Jehovah,^ 

In the quotation of our text, and with reference to Moses, 
Ms house means the Tabernacle. This precludes the notion 
entertained by many,^ that the house of God, as here mentioned, 
is the common sphere wherein JNIoscs and Jesus displayed fidt'lity. 
It is of Moses alone that it is stated, that he Avas faithful to Him 
that made him in all his house. The all may be supposed to have 
no importance in the present context beyond being part of the 
language quoted. But the recurrence of " the house " in the 
followiuo- verse intimates that the Author's mention here of 
his (God's) house, is with a purpose. The LXX. rendering of 
Num. xii. 7 reads : Mu)u<T-rj<i iv o)m ra> oTxco ijmo mffTo^ ifTTt, where 
iv oXu) T. or/iu) fjtou has the emphasis, owing to its having precedence 
in the sentence. Here the emphasis remains the same by the 
omission mffrw ovra, in the second clause. This calls attention 
to the sphere of the display of Moses' faithfulness as his (God's) 
house. It appears in the sequel that the Author means to press 
the notion of God's propriety in that house. This he does in 
the following verse in connection with affirming the sujjcriority 
of Jesus to Moses. 

Ver. 3. For this person (o(jro?) has been counted worthy of more 
glory than Moses, according as he that prepared it [the house] 
has more honor than the house. 

For refers to the exhortation of ver. 1, and brings forward 
another reason for considering " the Apostle of our confession," 
in addition to the reason comprised in the reference of o'^ev, 
'' wherefore." That reason is the greatness of Jesus as the 
Apostle of God compared with Moses. The Author affirm.^ that 
Jesus is superior in honor to Moses. He affirms this dogmati- 
cally, i. €., without proof. This, we observed, was his manner 
of affirming the superiority of the Son to angels (i. 4). But the 
statement here is not simply that Jesus is more glorious. It is 
affirmed that He was counted worthy of more glory. This manner 
of expression calls attention to the active subject of the predicate 
counted worthy, which is God, or more expressly (resuming tlie 

' e. g., Ps. Ixix. 10 ; IIos. viii. 1 ; ix. 15. ^ Del. vou Iluf., etc. 

88 so ALSO MOSES AND JESUS, [iii. 3. 

language of the ver. 2), He that made both Jesus and Moses. 
Thus the Author expressly refers the comparative greatness of 
Jesus and Moses, to the sovereign will of Him who made both, 
and to whom both were to be faithful. The perfect tense, hatli 
been counted, denotes that the effect still remains. The glory,^ 
means " that official ' glory ' or ^ honor ' in which the Lord Jesus 
excels Moses." ^ 

The following clause ' is meant to justify that sovereign discre- 
tion to which, by the expression : was counted worthy, the greater 
glory of Jesus is referred. By xa{f vaov without its correlative 
xard TOffouro * is not denoted a measure ; but as at ix. 27, it denotes : 
according- as. Thus the Author adds : According as he that 
prepareth the house has more honor than the house. The subject 
of prepared is God, as the statement of ver. 5 : " He that pre- 
pared all things is God," requires. Moreover, we notice that 
iTTiTsXsiv and TToisiv are used for Moses' performance in the con- 
struction of the Tabernacle (viii. 5), while as again in ix. 2, 6, 
xaraffxsud^scw is used (as r/^icozat here), so as to require us to under- 
stand God as the active subject. The use of tj/^^j = honor, 
instead of 56^ a = glory, shows that something else is meant than 
comparison.^ For glory would be compared with glory.® The 
obvious fact that the preparer of the house has more honor than 
the house, justifies him that prepared it in doing with it what he 
pleases. The house intended (as the article defines it), is the 

1 Comp. 2 Cor. iii. 7-11. 2 jy^^ 

^ Tlie following clause does not give a measure of the comparative super- 
iority of Jesus, as has been universally supposed. The difficulties of that view- 
have been universally felt by all that have adopted it. To maintain it, we 
must explain why the nai}' oaov is not attended by the correlative Kara togovto ; 
why TLHTj is used instead of 6o^a ; how God's having more honor than the 
house He prepared, can measure the superiority of Jesus to Moses ; or (if it is 
assumed that the Author means that Jesus is the preparer of the house ; 
so Davidson), how that comports with the saying, that "God prepares all 
things ; " and finally what logical force there is in the truism : " Every house 
is prepared by some one." In view of these difficulties, the common interpre- 
tation of the clause in question must be regarded as hopelessly obscure. That 
which is proposed above is not without difficulty and obscurity. It is never- 
theless that to which the foregoing context seems to lead up. 

*Comp. vii. 20. * Against Davidson. ^Comp. 1 Cor. xv. 40, 41. 


house just named, iu which Moses was faithful, and which is 
called God's house. It is referred to as something that was pre- 
pared (aorist participle). This, especially taken in such close 
connection with the perfect (has been counted worthy of more 
honor,) intimates that it is a thing of the past. And coupled as 
" his house " (bear in mind the expression of ownership,) is with 
Moses, both are included in the affirmation that Jesus has been 
counted worthy of more honor. For Moses and his glory cannot 
be thought of without the house in which he was faithful. 

We have here, let it be noted, a future theme of the Author's 
(viz., that the Tabernacle prepared at Sinai yields to the heav- 
enly sanctuary in which Christ ministers), wliich the Author 
treats of viii. 5 sqq. It is introduced not only as angels at i. 4, 
and the High Priest ii. 17, i. e., suddenly, without preface, but 
also, as we shall have occasion to notice about other themes, in a 
way that does not immediately awake attention or suggest the 
importance the Author attaches to it. 

Ver. 4. For every house is prepared by some one, but God [is] 
he that prepared [the] ^ all things. 

The logical connection of this utterance is difficult to detect. 
The history of its interpretation ^ shows that such was the case 
back to the earliest specimens of exegesis that we possess from 
the Greek fathers. It is true that there was considerable unani- 
mity among the ancient expositors in regarding God as predicate 
and 6 Tzdv-a xaraax. as a designation of Christ, thus making the 
passage a proof of the deity of Christ.^ But there is quite as 
much unanimity among modern expositors in rejecting this inter- 
pretation. The latter fact, therefore, represents the prevalent 
opinion to be, that even the earliest Greek expositors failed to 
detect the logical connection and force of our ver. 4. The view 
taken of the foregoing verse 3 must control the interpretation of 
this one. 

The For refers to the statement of ver. 3 h, (" according as he 
that prepared the house," etc.), that justifies the sovereign discre- 
tion which counts one worthy of more glory than another. The 
first clause of our verse is a truism. That does not need to make 

» rd Text. Reccp. * See in Alford. " Ihld. 


it sound flat, any more than the utterance of the dilemma : " It 
is, or it is not," so often used in argument. Let a truism be well 
pointed and nothing is more expressive. On the other hand, if 
we miss the point, nothing can sound more flat. If the utter- 
ance of the present truism sounds flat to us, we may blame our 
own want of penetration, and wish the Author had written more 
lucidly ; but we cannot impute dulness to him, whose work before 
us gives so many proofs of extraordinary acuteness. 

The truism of our verse seems to be adduced in support of the 
foregoing thought as explained above. Every house is prepared 
by some one, and the house in which Moses was faithful was no 
exception. This expresses the notion that it is not a thing of 
necessary existence, but subject to the will of him that prepared 
it. Thus the glory of Moses, that was inseparably connected 
with the house in which he was faithful, was a prepared thing, 
just as the house was. We find in this a representation very 
necessary to be pressed on Israelites, that were used to contem- 
plate the Mosaic economy, which centered in the Tabernacle or 
Temple, as something to last forever. Nor could they be better 
attacked on that subject than by such a truism as that of the 
text. Moreover, we find in this interpretation the preparation 
for the direct representation the Author will presently make, viz., 
that the Tabernacle, with all pertaining to it, was in prophecy, 
as it is now actually in fact, treated by God as something that 
grew old and ready to vanish away (viii. 16). 

The thought thus intimated by one truism, viz., what was true 
of any house, just because a house, is reinforced by another, that 
is still more comprehensive of the same thought, viz. : But God 
(is) lie that prepared all things. In this sentence God is subject.^ 
The argument is a fortiori. The sovereign discretion, that 
counts one worthy of more than another, is justified by the con- 
sideration that God was the preparer of the house that was iden- 
tified with the glory of Moses. But it is still more justified by 
the fact that God was the preparer of all things. The all things 
must be understood in a universal and indefinite way. 

The affirmation that Jesus was counted worthy of more glory 
^ See Liin. 


thau ]\Ioses, so far as it affirms that He is more glorious, is made 
dogmatically, just as the iinportaut doctrinal items concerning 
the Sou in i. 1-4. The doctrinal status of the readers justified 
this. But so far as it affirmed that God counted him worthy of 
more glory, the Author has supported the affirmation by consid- 
erations that vindicate the divine discretion in this matter. He 
now points to a distinction between Moses and Jesus that illus- 
trates the superiority of the latter to the former ; not, however, 
in all its breadth, but in one comprehensive particular. This is 
presented in vers. 5, 6, which are joined to the context by xai = 
and in its simple conjunctive sense as bringing in something addi- 
tional. First, he says of Moses : 

Ver. 5. And Moses, indeed, [was] faithful in all his house as a 
servant for a testimony of those things that shall be spoken of 

The //.cv = indeed, to be followed by its correlative oi = but, 
marks the utterance of an antithesis, which must be pointed by 
an emphasis on the contrasted notions in the two representations. 
In the present verse that emphasis falls on : in, and : as a servant ; 
and in the following verse on : over, and : as a son. The origi- 
nal, as is easily permitted by its idiom, gives no temporal expres- 
sion to the predicate faithful as we are compelled to do in the 
translation by was faithful, and is faithful. Thus the notion of 
time is no part of the contrast. It may even be that, by elud- 
ing a reference to time, the Author would represent both on one 
plane, as at ix. 8, 9, he represents kindred notions, using the 
present tense ; where, after a description of the Tabernacle as it 
"was prepared," he says : " The Holy Spirit, this signifying" 
(present participle), etc., and : " Which (is) a parable for the time 
now present." This might be construed as the pre-sent of the 
fact as it appears contemplated in the scripture.^ 

Reiterating in this way the faithfulness of INIoses, he says with 
•emphasis, that he was faithful in the whole house of God, thus 
representing him, not as constituting a part of the house,^ which 
is incompatible with the facts relating to the Tabernacle, but as 
circumscribed and limited bv that house, so that his functions 
and influence were coterminous with it ; at least so far as they 

* So Liin. * Against Del., Liin., etc. 

92 TuJv kaXrji'^rjffu/j.ivwv. ["iii. 5. 

are described in the following clause. In accordance with that, 
or rather as defining what was involved by : in the house, the 
Author adds : as a servant. " The LXX. purposely renders 
I2p here by another word than douXog or rral? (the renderings 
most frequently employed), in order to exclude the notion of 
unfree, slavish dependence, from which Sepdncuv, in the oldest 
Greek, is exempt." ^ But though slavish dependence is excluded, 
dependence is not ; and the scope of Moses' ministry, as defined 
by : in the whole house, is represented as limited to that sphere. 
This is expressly represented by the explanatory clause that fol- 
lows : for a testimony of those things that shall be spoken of. 
Moses was minister in the Tabernacle for a testimony. As he 
performed no service in or about it (that being the province of 
the Levites and priests), the reference can only be to his agency 
in making it, with all its appointments complete, and instituting 
the priesthood with their services. And all this performance 
must be meant as furnishing the testimony referred to. That 
testimony is identified by the Author with Moses as an active 
agent in respect to the Tabernacle. It can have no reference, 
then, to the iwomulgation of the law,^ which had no special con- 
nection with the Tabernacle ; nor to additional and ampler reve- 
lations to be given,^ which had as little connection with the 
Tabernacle. The only notion w^e are acquainted with that 
answers to the present expression, is the typical significance of 
the Tabernacle, with all its belongings, as unfolded by our 
Author in chap. viii. and onward. And such is his meaning 
when he says Moses ministered in the house of God for a testi- 
mony of the things that shall be spoken of. 

Things to which Moses' ministry was a testimony, the Author, 
for the present, designates as the things that shall be spoken of, 
(rwv Xalr^f^riaojihu)^^^ fut. pass. participle). No one besides Parens 
(and perhaps Lindsay) seems to have taken this expression in its 
literal rendering. It has been common, contrary to grammar, to 
take this future participle in the sense of " would be," or '■'■ were 
to be spoken." Parens interprets the expression as meaning " the 
things to be spoken by us in this epistle concerning the cere- 

^ Del. "^ Against de Wette, Liin., etc. ' Against Stuart, Davidson. 

iii. 5.] TYPES AND SHADOWS. 93 

monies and their meaning." And such is the only admissable 
rendering. As the Author says, ii. 5 : " The world to come of 
which we speak {).a).ohtj.s'J),^' because the subject was actually a 
matter of discourse ; so he says here : thins^s that shall be spoken 
of (rail' XaArjt'hjffofjLi'/uj'S), bccause he is not at the point where he 
would make them a matter of discourse. He comes to that point 
in chap. viii. Similarly at ix. 5, he says : " of which things we 
cannot now speak {Xiysr^) severally," because he does not purpose 
to speak of them in detail at all. Understanding the text thus, 
we find in it corroboration of the fact noted above under ver. 3, 
that the Author has actually broached a topic that he intends to 
make a matter of particular discourse. 

But with this understanding of the things that shall be spoken 
of, we see that the clause appears in the sentence in a very unem- 
phatic way, as expressing that the testimony was to things of 
importance, indeed, but too complex to be expressed in this con- 
nection. This leaves the expression : "as a servant for a testi- 
mony," in emphatic isolation to point the contrast with: "as a 
son," in the next verse. 

The interpretation just given of rwv ?.aXrji'^rj<T(>/j.i-Muv, ought to 
meet with the more approval, because by a direct grammatical 
construction it attains the result that has been adopted by the 
majority of the best commentators, viz., that by : the things to be 
spoken the Author refers to the gospel of the New Testament, 
and to that exclusively,^ but which result they reach, either by a 
leap, or by much artful reasoning.^ Moreover, entertaining this 
result, it is, after all, chiefly the things of the gospel as testified 
to by the typical things of the Old Testament, that these com- 
mentators understand, though they admit also direct testimony to 
the Messiah. When we remember, that we are indebted almost 
wholly to the present epistle for the knowledge of how the 
Tabernacle types testified to the gospel, this result issues in the 
same thing as has been reached by the interpretation given above, 
viz., that Moses testified to the things that our Author will speak 
of later in his epistle. 

1 Del., von Ilof., Alford, Wolf, Calvin, etc. 
" See e. g., Alford. 


Yer. 6. But Christ as a Son over his house, which house we 

It is thus the Apostle presents Jesus in antithesis to Moses as 
described in the foregoing verse. In doing so he calls Him 
Christ (for tlie first time in the epistle). It is jaroper to suppose 
that this is done on purpose. It is the name of Jesus as the 
promised Messiah ; and it is as the Messiah that He has been 
counted worthy of more glory than Moses. We must supply the 
predicate " is faithfid " to this mention of Christ, with no stress on 
the copula " is/' as has been noted under the foregoing verse. 
Christ (is) faithful as a Son over his (God's) house is the present 
statement, with emphasis on a Son and over, as contrasted with 
"a minister" and "in" of the foregoing verse. The antithesis 
thus presented, without anything more to point it than that pre- 
sented by the words themselves, is the same as that presented in 
the parable of The Wicked Husbandmen, between " servants " 
(So6?j)u?) and " his son," and that there justify the sentiment : 
" They will reverence My Son," Matt. xxi. 37. There, too, the 
husbandmen say of the Son : " This is the heir." Our Author, 
in i. 12, has presented the same notions as inseparable in Christ, 
by calling Him " a Son whom He has made heir of all things." ^ 

This comprehensive notion of the Son is to be retained here, 
and that justifies the statement that He is over the house of God 
and not " in " it. He is faithful over the house of God as some- 
thing committed to His discretion like tlie " good and faithful 
servant that was faithful over a few things " (i-) dXiya. ri<i rdarai), 
(Matt. XXV. 21). 

The antithesis now presented is complete in the terms : 
" Moses, as a minister, in the house of God," and : " Christ, as a 
Son, over the house of God." But as the notion of Moses as a 
minister, is supplemented by defining his ministry as a testimony 
of the things that shall be spoken of further on in this epistle, 
so the notion of Christ as a Son in this antithesis, is supplemented 
by defining the house over which He is. Whose house we are, 
adds the Apostle. We may suppose ^ that there is intended here 

* See this comment above, in he. 

^ With Del., who ascribes the view to Ebrard. 

iii. 6.] CHRIST A SON OVER IT. 95 

" a latent parallel between : ' for a testimony of the things that 
shall be spoken of/ and : whose house we are." For the two 
expressions actually refer to the same notion in the mind of the 
Author. That intended by the former expression has been stated 
above. What is meant by the latter requires particular defini- 

The house referred to in : whose house, is God's, as in the 
foregoing context. Nor are we to surrender here the under- 
standing, that by the house of God, is meant the Tabernacle, 
except as the Author's present statement exchanges another 
notion for that. What he affirms is, that now the house of God 
is no longer the Tabernacle, but the body of true believers in 
Christ. It is because this point has been missed, that so much 
confusion and disagreement has appeared amongst commentators 
with reference to what is meant by the house of God in tlie fore- 
going context. The obvious meaning of the present text, which 
affirms that believers are the house of God, has influenced all to 
understand that the same notion is meant by the house of God in 
Num. xii. 7, as cited in ver. 2. But this is overlooking the fact 
that it is peculiarly a New Testament revelation that God's people 
are themselves God's house. And this is not an old fact set in a 
new light. It is the revelation of a new fact that distinguishes 
the new dispensation from the old. It does not appear in the 
Old Testament except as a prophecy of what shall be in the New 
Testament dispensation. Comp. Lev. xxvi. 11, 12 ; Ezek. 
xxxvii. 26-28 ; and Rev. xxi. 3. Moreover, as so prophesied, 
it needed the inspired teachings of Christ's apostles to bring out 
the truth of what was foretold.^ To suppose that Israelites 
would understand by " the house of God," the people of God, is 
to impute to the Apostle's present readers an understanding of the 
truth that would make much of what he teaches in this epistle 
gratuitous labor. Men whose notion of God's house had become 
so enlarged, would have been in little danger of thinking that true 
worship of God could only be rendered at the Tabernacle, or its 
successor, the Temple. 

The novelty and unfamiliarity of this New Testament fact, is 

^See below on Lev. xxvi. 12 ; and 2 Cor. vi. 16. 

96 WE ARE THAT HOUSE OF GOD. [iii. 6. 

intimated in Paul's exclamation : " Know ye not that your body 
is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have 
from God?" 1 Cor. vi. 19. But the classic passages are Ephes. 
ii. 20-22; 2 Cor. vi. 16. The latter passage will better serve 
our purpose in the present connection. There Paul says : " For 
we are the temple of the living God ; even as God said : I will 
dwell in them and walk in them ; and I will be their God and 
they shall be my people." He quotes the language of Lev. xxvi. 
12. But it is language repeatedly quoted by the prophets, with 
reference to the new dispensation ; amongst others by Jer. xxxi. 
1, 33. This prophecy is quoted by our Author twice in the 
present epistle (viii. 10 ; x. 16), as descriptive of the new dispen- 
sation in contrast with the old. If Paul be (as we have assumed), 
the Author of our epistle, we must take it for granted that he 
understands the words in Jer. xxxi. 1, 33, as he does in their 
original place in Lev. xxvi. 12, when he applies them in 2 Cor. 
vi. 16. But if one should admit another author than Paul, yet 
an inspired writer, the conclusion must still be the same. That 
meaning is, that now true believers are what formerly the Tab- 
ernacle was, viz., the house or Temple of God. (^aof -fhou, " sanc- 
tuary of God.") 

The foundation of this Christian conception of the Temple or 
house of God, and of the interpretation of the prophecies relating 
to it, is such teaching of Christ as John xiv. 23. " If a man love 
me, he will keep my word ; and my Father will love him, and 
we will come unto him and make our abode with him." Comp. 
John xvii. 21, 23. Its development by His inspired Apostles 
is found 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17 ; vi. 19 ; 2 Cor. vi. 16 ; Eph. ii. 22 ; 
1 Tim. iii. 15 ; 1 Pet. ii. 5 ; iv. 17. It is affirmed also in our 
text, but receives no extended development in our epistle. Yet 
the Author recurs again to the thought of the substitution of true 
believers for the Tabernacle in what he says chap. xiii. 12. 
There he represents, that as, on the day of atonement, the high 
priest sanctified the Tabernacle even to the sanctuary with the 
blood of the sin-offerings, so Christ, suffering without the gate, 
sanctified His peoj)le through His own blood. Thus Christians 
" have an altar of sacrifice," that is not of the Tabernacle (xiii. 

iii. 6.] IF M'E PEIISEVERE. 97 

10). Thus, too, Christians, in that house of God which they 
constitute, by the confession of Christ as their High Priest, 
" oifer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the 
fruit of lips Avhich make confession to His name," xiii. 15. 

From this it appears, that, while the Author finds the anti- 
type of the Tabernacle and its appurtenances and their uses, in 
Christ Himself and in the heavenly realities where Christ has 
entered for us within the vail, he also represents the truth that 
Christians themselves are the temple of God. 

The latent parallel between : " for a testimony of things that 
will be spoken of," and : " whose house we are," mentioned 
above, involves a contrast also, viz., that Moses was a minister 
in all God's house, to represent by tyj)ical institutions (whose 
meaning the Author will proceed to give) that which is realized 
in the Christian dispensation. But Christ, as a Son, deals not 
with typical representations of the house of God, and of what 
concerns that house, but with the very house itself. Believers 
are that house of God. His blood actually cleanses and sanctifies 

But the Apostle says, we are the house of God (not, that believ- 
ers are), adhering thus to the subject as expressed in this epistle so 
far, viz., himself and his Jewish Christian readers, as in ver. 1. 
He qualifies that subject in the present passage by adding : 

iii. 6 c. If we hold steadfast the boldness, and the glorying of 
the hope imtil the end. 

We retain the clause /ji/pt TiX<>u<i /?£/?«£«•>, firm until the end, 
as part of the genuine text, according to Lachman, Tischendorf, 
Tregelles, and Westcott and Hort. The editions last named, viz., 
Tr., W. and H., leave it undecided, the latter enclosing in 
brackets, and the former putting it in the margin. B^i^aiav 
agreeing in gender with the remoter substantive, viz., -appr,nia\>^ 
as well as the precedence of -Kapp-qq. makes the latter word, 
boldness the more important of the conjoined notions, boldness and 

By the present qualifying clause that defines who arc indeed 
the house of God, the Author confines the designation to those 
of his readers that with himself are true believers. As is said : 


98 xavxrjtia OF THE HOPE. [iii. 7-11. 

" For they are not all Israel which are of Israel." Rom. ix. 6. 
Those that may truly be called the house of God, have a hope 
set before them. By this is not meant an inward feeling, but 
the thing in prospect that causes the feeling, (vi. 18.) This hope 
is only what it ought to be to those concerned when it inspires 
boldness in them. This boldness is in the direction toward God 
(comp. iv. 16), as the hope is a substance treasured up with God. 
It must be steadfast {psliaiav comp. ii. 2, 3), as the only fitting 
posture of the soul toward " a hope that is sure and steadfast " 
(vi. 19). Such a hope with its corresponding boldness must be 
a boast {/.afr^rjiia, not the same as za^'yijo-:?, the act of boasting, 
but the thing boasted). It is a hope that is a boast (ro ■/.air^rjiia 
T?7? Iknidtx;^ genitive of apposition).* This boldness and boast 
must he held fast (if we hold) by those concerned. This desig- 
nates the point for their active agency. The hope, as a substance, 
is steadfast in itself. The boldness and the making a boast of it 
are their part. They must hold to that, and do it until the end 
(comp. ver. 14), by which end is meant the goal when there is no 
more hope, but possession, because fulfillment has come ; and thus 
the fjJ/jii is strictly temporal, and not denotive of measure or 
degree.^ Perseverance in the graces here mentioned must cha- 
racterize those that are the house of God. The present clause 
shows that the Apostle does not conceive the notion of a true 
believer complete, without the idea of his holding fast to his 
Christian character to the end. In other words, let him sur- 
render this boldness and boast, and he proves that he is (eaiiev) 
not a constituent part of the house of God. Comp. vers. 12, 14; 
X. 39. 

The qualification just added to the statement " whose house we 
are," moves the Apostle to give a warning that ought to influence 
his readers to hold fast the boldness and boast of their hope 
steadfast to the end. 

Yer. 7. Wherefore, even as says the Holy Spirit: To-day 
if ye shall hear his voice, 8. harden not yonr hearts, as in the 
provocation, like as (in) the day of the temptation in the wilder- 
ness, 9. where your fathers tried by way of test, and saw my 

^ von Hot * von Hof. 

iii. 7-11.] THE WAENING EXAMPLE. 99 

works forty years. 10. Wherefore, I was displeased with this gen- 
eration and said : they ever err in heart ; but they knew not my 
ways, 11, as I sware in my wrath, if they shall enter into my 

The wherefore, ver. 7, connects with take heed, ver. 1 2,^ and 
vers. 8-11, cite Old Testament scripture, which the Author pur- 
poses to use for warning, and also for additional instruction. 
The awkward length of sentence has been objected to this con- 
struction, as something " monstrous." ^ But, beside the appeal 
to vii. 20-22; xii. 18-24, as other instances of the sort, we notice 
that the Author actually uses the text now quoted in various 
applications down to iv. 10. Having in mind such use for these 
words, it does not appear how he could more happily introduce 

The Author quotes Ps. xcv. 7-11, as rendered by the LXX., 
yet with some important variations from the original that must 
have an intentional significance. In ver. 9, instead of " where 
your fathers tempted me, tried me, and saw my works," he 
writes : where your fathers tried by way of a test, and saw my 
works forty years. In vers. 10 he adds a wherefore (dta) not 
found in the LXX. or in the Hebrew ; and instead of " that 
generation " (^z-i'vr^), he writes this generation (rauTTj). 

As says the holy spirit ; thus the Author expressly signifies that 
he appeals to the scripture in question as authority. This: 
as saith does not denote that he means to use the language in 
question as his own ; and harden not, etc., ver. 8, is not the 
Author's own warning introduced by wherefore.^ By these 
words he expressly represents that the scripture now quoted is 
the utterance of the Holy Spirit. It teas when written ; it is as 
it at present stands written. Yet quoting the familiar words, 
w^ith changes that must have been instantly detected by his 
readers, he, in effect, comments Avhile he quotes. In so far the 
Author uses the language as his omu. The events of sacred 
history referred to by the Psalmist, arc found recorded Exod. 
xvii. 1-7 ; Xum. xx. 1-13. They both occurred early in the 

* So Calvin, Pareus, Bengel, Liin., Alford, etc. ' Del. 

' Against Del. 

100 APPEAL TO SCEIPTUEE. [iii. 7-11. 

wanderings in the wilderness, so that, as the Author with the 
Psahuist represents, the forty years of penalty might be spoken 
of as following them. For it is a mistake to suppose, as is com- 
monly done, that the event narrated Num. xx. 1-13, occurred 
after the years of penalty had passed, and when the people were 
reassembling at Kadesh to start afresh for the conquest of Canaan. 
It occurred on or about their first arrival at Kadesh after the 
departure from Sinai.^ The condemnation is recorded Num. 
xiv. 22 sqq. 

It cannot be deemed an accident, as regards our context, that 
immediately preceding the words quoted from the Psalm, we 
read : " O come, let us worship and bow down ; and kneel before 
the Lord our Maker. For he is our God; and we are his 
people and the sheep of his pasture," vers. 6, 7. For our 
Author has just said : " we are His house," and we have seen how, 
in 2 Cor. vi. 16, Paul founds this statement on the words of 
scripture: "I will be your God, and ye shall be my people," 
Lev. xxvi. 12. Moreover, the words: "the Lord our Maker," 
ver. 6 of the Psalm, remind us of the words: "him that made 
him," of our ver. 2. This coincidence of thought shows that the 
text the Author now quotes has a special fitness to his subject. 

As has been said already, the changes that our Author makes 
in his text are in effect comments on it. They are, so to speak, 
comments by the way. While quoting the language, he adapts 
it, to give instant force to the warning, ver. 12, which is the first 
use he makes of it, and which he has, so to speak, on his lips, 
and hanging in suspense from the "wherefore," ver. 7. He 
does this without any violence to the substantial sense. The 
important statements that come out so clearly by the changes are 
thoroughly justified by the language, when rendered literally. 

By the first of the changes noted above, viz., in ver. 9, the 
Apostle makes r« tpya the object of both iTretpaffav and el^ov, and 
qualifies both by : forty years, saying : your fathers tried and saw 
my works forty years.^ The Author shows at ver. 17 that he 
knew the correct reading. 

By the second change, viz., the introduction at ver. 10 of 8u'>, 

' See Lange — Schaff Bib. Work, on Numbers, xx. 1-13. ^ So von Hof. 


wherefore, which couneots with the statement just made, while 
at the same time it disconnects the : forty years from : I was 
displeased, he makes God's displeasure the effect of that forty 
years' trial, and the forty years' trial the justification for God's 
saying : they ever err in their heart. INIoreover, the LXX. vary 
here from the Hebrew, which reads : " they are a people of wan- 
derers in heart;" and varying again from the Hebrew: "and 
they know not my ways," the LXX. reads : uorm di <n>x tyvoxraM 
■/.. T. L This disconnects these words from those immediately 
preceding, which recite what God formerly said, { s:\-ov) and 
make them part of what God says in the inspired Psalm. This 
rendering our Author retains, and moreover changes the render- 
ing of the LXX. : " that generation," to this generation. What 
the quoted language accordingly represents as the expression of 
the Holy Spirit is, that because of the forty years trial to which 
God was put, he was displeased lastingly, and said they ever err 
in heart, i. e., pronounced them radically and inveterately gone 
astray ; they on their part did not know His ways, ffs (^—just as) 
He swore in His wrath (viz., at the time of transgression) that 
they should not enter into His rest. This representation ex- 
pressly precludes the notion that forty years measured the extent 
of God's anger. And the Apostle actually gives still greater 
precision to this representation by saying this generation, instead 
of " that generation ; " for the latter phrase might be taken as the 
equivalent of forty years, like "\n3, and taken even more than the 
Hebrew, as expressly excluding application to the following 
generation that did enter Canaan. By writing : this generation, 
our Author extends the application even to the period of the 
Psalmist, as further appears, moreover, from his representing all, 
even to the present time, as under the operation of the oath of 
exclusion from God's rest. Tlie rendering of the LXX. has the 
further effect of representing, that the observed fact (viz., that the 
generation did not know God's ways) was in accordance with the 
foregoing oath that they should not enter into His rest. By " my 
ways" is meant the way God would have them go,^ viz., in order 
to enter his rest. 

' So von Hof., Comp. Mic. iv. 2 ; Ps. H. 15. 

102 AN EVIL HEART OF PERFIDY. [iii. 12, 13. 

All this interpretation our Author adopts in quoting the 
LXX.^ "For it is for him of essential importance that the 
generation which, by unbelief and rebellion, had sinned against 
God at the beginning of the wandering, afterward, also, did not 
know the ways of God, and thereby confirmed the oath of God 
that they should not enter His rest."^ 

The Apostle has adduced a " scripture inspired of God," and 
the following context shows that his purpose is to make it "pro- 
fitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction 
which is in righteousness." ^ His first use is for reproof and 
correction ; and thus continuing the sentiment begun by wherefore, 
ver. 7, he says : 

Yer. 12. Take heed, brethren, lest haply there shall be in any 
one of you an evil heart of perfidy, when there is a falling away 
from the living God ; 13. but exhort one another day by day, so long 
as it is called To-day, in order that no one of you may be hardened 
by the deceit of sin. 

Addressing his readers as brethren, thus resuming the same 
notion as expressed in ver. 1, the Apostle points them *to the 
danger of there being in them an evil heart of perfidy, by which 
he refers to the notion of "an ever erring heart" represented in 
his text, (ver. 10). a-Krria = "perfidy," see Grimm's Lex. He 
says not : lest there may be now, but with a future reference : 
lest there shall be, as denoting something that will reveal itself 
when the trial comes. That approaching trial he calls : when 

^ We may at this point remark once more on our Author's mode of quoting 
scripture. His quotation here is obviously in a fashion, and with adaptations 
to suit his purpose. Yet, appealing to it as autliority, he expressly signifies 
that he does so, by a suitable formula : as saith the Holy Spirit. (Comp. ix. 8 ; 
X. 15.) There is nothing doubtful or ambiguous about his quotation. The 
passage is instantly identified. It is used in the plain meaning of the words in 
their original position. No canons of interpretation need be invented to account 
for meanings that the Author finds in it. These and the changes he makes on 
his original explain themselves, and are justified by the facts of the histories 
concerned, and by Moses' o-wti reference to the same events. (Deut. vi. 16.) 
It is needless to say how diflTerent is the Author's manner in his use of scripture 
language, i. 5-14 and ii. 12, 13. 

2 von Hof. 3 2 Tim. iii. 16. 

iii. 12, 13.] WHEN THE APOSTASY COMES. 103 

there is the falling away.^ The future : shall be (t(7Ta'.), requires us 
to take the following h^ of h rw a-ofrzr^'^m, in a temporal sense, as 
at ii. 8 ; moreover, h with the substantive infinitive has the 
sense of "while," "as,^" or "at the time wlien."^ This future, 
moreover, determines the force of the 2 aor. inf. (a-offzy^ac) as mean- 
ing something in prospect.* "Then our expression means the 
same thing that in 2 Thess. ii. 3 is called ^ aTata-adia. At 2 Thess. 
ii. 10, to those that have not received the love of the truth, the 
Apostle holds out the prospect that they will become a prey to 
Satan at the time of that apostasy that precedes the reappearing 
of Jesus ; so here he would have heed taken, that, when it [that 
apostasy] comes about, there may not be among his readers such 
whose hearts are possessed of unbelief [or as we translate, per- 
fidy]." ^ 

The introduction of this idea of an apostasy is a natural pro- 
gress of thought from the idea underlying the warning of ii. 1-3. 
What is common to both is, that the readers are contemplated 
as the same people of God as those of old, under the same 
ministry of a word spoken by angels. There, however, the warn- 
ing was given from the point of vicAV of those hearing the gospel 
as the oifer of salvation ; it was accordingly : how shall we escape 
if we neglect so great salvation. Here the warnino- is to those 
that are regarded as having heard and accepted the heavenly 
calling, and confessed Jesus as their Apostle and High Priest 
(iii. 1). Unbelief in such would be apostasy. The only strange 
thing about the present expression is that it points to a definitely 
expected event of general apostasy. For, as the foregoing con- 
struction shows, such is the implied representation. It is even 
made more precise by the ev rr^c t3//wv = in any one of you, which 
denotes, that it is not a question of whether or not there shall be 
such a thing as is here a subject of warning, but only whether or 
not it shall include some of those now warned. Moreover, the 
Author's way of saying : lest there shall be (/.njTror; sffrai) ex- 

^ 8o von Hof., who, while justifyins: this meaning, clearly shows that h can- 
not here introduce a phrase epexegetical otaniariag. 

" See e. g., Luke ix. 36. ^ See e. jr., Matt, xiii, 25 ; Luke xvii. 11. 

* Sec Kiihner Gram. IT. p. 101. * von Ilof. 

104 TO-DAY, [iii. 12, 13 

presses the fear or probability that the very thing he would pre- 
vent will take place. 

The sudden reference, without preface, to such an event as an 
anticipated apostasy, we have found to be quite in our Author's 
style. It's justification to his readers would be in the familiarity 
of such a subject in their circles. To us, who are making our- 
selves acquainted with those circles by means of the present 
writing, the reference must be justified by what shall further 
appear. If nothing shall appear to show that a definite and 
anticipated apostasy is in the Author's mind, then the above 
interpretation of iv tw drrofrrrjvac must be a mistake, or at least 
doubtful. But we may by anticipation refer to vi. 8 ; x. 27, 39 ; 
xii. 25-27. 

The Apostle warns against an evil that he calls : falling away 
from the living God. He thereby identifies its guilt and enormity 
with the temptation in the wilderness, of which his text speaks. 
It would be against the same God, who ever lives, and must be 
treated by him in the same way, because He is ever the same. 

In the following verse 13 he enjoins what will guard against 
the impending danger of some of them being swept away. Let 
them exhort one another day by day so long as it is called To-day. 
The point of this admonition is in the second clause. It is called 
To-day, means "called out, sounded out," ^ To-day. The further 
use of this To-day in the subsequent context ^ shows that the 
Author treats it as a proclamation. So long as, intimates that 
the calling out will cease, and so the To-day will come to an end. 
The Author, however, appeals to this To-day proclaimed in the 
Ps. xcv. as still in force. Because ijt is so, and while it is so, let 
them exhort one another day by day. This emphatic day by day 
seems to intimate that there were few days left of the period called 
To-day. In x. 25 this notion is actually expressed. The subject 
of exhortation must be, of course, that of the original text (ver. 9) : 
"harden not your hearts," etc. But the Author expresses this 
as the effect of the exhortation : in order that none of you may be 
hardened by the deceit of sin. By hardened the analogy is pressed 
of the old transgression in the wilderness as expressed in the 

' See KaMu in Grimm's Lex. ^ Ver. 15; iv. 7. 

iii. 12, 13.] EXHORT ONE ANOTHER. 105 

Psalm, aud the meaning is : " hardened as your fathers were," to 
put God to the test as they did, and to incur the penahy of His 
oath, (vers. 9-11.) By the form of expressing his thought, the 
Apostle represents what, in the case of his readei-s, would exert 
the hardening influence, viz., deceit, or fraud of the sin. "The 
sin (r/^i- da/jTi'as^) is here personified, comp. Rom. vii. 11. What 
is meant is the sin of falling back to the old cultus, and thereby 
apostasy from Christianity, to which sin they were allured by the 
illusive splendor of the old cultus.^ In 2 Thess. iii. 10, to M'hich 
we appealed above, Paul speaks of the apostasy coming "with 
all deceit of unrighteousness for them that are perishing." 

We have not, therefore, such a general expression here as : 
"through the deceitfulness of sin, (Versions of 1611, 1881.) Yet, 
for present homiletical use, reasoning from the particular sin re- 
ferred to here to the general is both obvious and justifiable. AVhat- 
ever sin closely clings to one (xii. 1), and so is his besetting sin, 
acquires its influence by lying deceit, just as this sin that beset 
the Hebrews to whom our epistle is addressed. And the effect 
of that deceit is to harden the heart, as exemplified by those that 
fell in the wilderness. 

The Author follows up the exhortation just given by considera- 
tions added in vers. 14, 15, the emphatic points of which are 
that, we are become companions of Christ, aud are so become 
when it is called To-day. Connected by : For with what precales, 
the reference is to the double aspect of the warning of vers. 1 2, 13. 
We are become companions of Christ, etc., refers to that of ver. 12, 
and affirms what it is that the perfidy (art^rta), against wliich 
they are there warned, would repudiate. When it is called To-day, 
etc., refers to the counsel and warning of ver. 13, and justifies 
both its : exhort one another so long as it is called To-day, and 
its warning against hardening. 

Such seems to be the true logical connection of vers. 14, 15, 
which has perplexed commentators from the earliest writings of 
the sort that have been presented to us. The history of this 
matter is comprehensively given and the views lucidly classifiwl 
in Liineman and Alfi)rd. A perusal of that histyry will dis- 

^ Liineman, comp. Meyer on Eph. iv. 22. 


courage any one from attempting to classify his understanding 
of the passage under any of the competing views. It is but just 
to state, however, that the view now given differs from all repre- 
sented in those accounts, in taking as the emphatic statement of 
the context the first clause of ver. 14, instead of the second. 

The Author, continuing to use the inspired scripture he has 
quoted for reproof and correction, (especially in the To-day of 
ver. 15) uses it also for teaching and instruction, and continues so 
to use it in the same way in chapter iv. 1-11. 

Yer, 14. For we are become companions of Christ, if we hold 
fast the beginning of the confidence steadfast unto the end ; 15. 
while it is said : To-day, if ye shall hear his voice, harden not your 
hearts as in the provocation. 

The logical connection has been represented above. Because 
of the prominence and consequent emphasis of iJ.iroy(n = compan- 
ions (for such is here the meaning of the w' ord ^), and because the 
first clause of ver. 14 introduces a fresh thought, whereas the 
second clause has been substantially, and partly in identical words, 
expressed before (vers. 6), and because it is the first clause, we 
are called upon to take it as the prominent and emphatic thought 
introduced by : For. And so taking it, it justifies the construction 
by the good sense it yields. By saying : we are become compan- 
ions of Christ, the Author institutes a parallel between his read- 
ers (including himself) and the situation referred to in his Psalm 
text. This is natural also from the point of view in vers. 1-6, 
that brings forward the comparison of ISIoses and Christ. " Those 
that journeyed out of Egypt w^ere the companions of Moses ; 
but we are the companions of the promised Saviour, and there- 
fore partakers of every promise finally fulfilled in him." ^ Noth- 
ing could be more to the point than to follow up the exhortation : 
" Take heed lest there shall be perfidy in any one of you " (ver. 
12), by the statement : For we are companions of Christ. And 
such is the logical connection of our ver. 14. It confronts the 
apprehended perfidy with Him against whom it would be dis- 
played. It has been shown above, that h -tD dr.narri'mi does not 
define the perfidy, but the event that will reveal its existence. 

* Del., von Hof., De Wette, comp. i. 9. "^ von Hof., similarly Del. 

iii. 14.] IF WE HOLD FAST TO THE END. 107 

The evident purpose of the Author to point a parallel between 
the Christian situation and the situation of the Israelites in the 
wilderness, demands our special notice, and that we bear it in 
mind. For the effect extends beyond the present context. It is 
resumed again when he recurs again to the same subject of apos- 
tasy, vi. 1-6. This intention of pointing such a parallel occa- 
sions two peculiarities of our context, vers. 7-19: (a) the liber- 
ties the Author takes with the Old Testament scripture he uses, 
as noted above under vers. 7-11 ; and (b) the choice of expres- 
sions used here to describe the conduct against which he warns 
his readers. In the former (a) we may observe the effort to 
adjust the expression of the substance of the scripture record in 
a way to point the parallel ; and in the latter (b) a choice of 
terms that are suited both to the ancient and to the Christian 
situation. Thus the two situations are identified as being essen- 
tially the same ; and the solemn and tremendous truth and fact 
of the former are shown to be identified with the latter. This is 
skillful composition in the highest degree, producing the intended 
effect in a fashion at once terse and most irresistible. 

But the Author says : We are become (/'c^wva/^sv, which has 
here its proper meaning) companions of Christ, with a qualifica- 
tion. It is the same, with some modification, as that expressed 
ver. 6. Here, he says : If (iw^^zs/i) we hold fast the beginning of 
the confidence steadfast unto the end. " The beginning of the 
confidence is said, bccau,se the church of Christ is, in thought, 
contrasted with the church of Moses, that had left Egypt with 
the assured confidence that Moses was ordained to bring them to 
Canaan. In this assured confidence they stood at first, but did 
not hold it steadfast unto the end." ^ " A beginning is meant that 
shall abide, so as not to be merely a beginning without continu- 

From the present context we are able to define further ^ what 
the end is that is mentioned, vers. 6, 14. If is not: "the final 
redemption of individuals and of the whole Church ;" ' at least 
in the concrete notion of it present to mind of the Author and 

' von Hof. ' See above on ver. 6. ' As Del. 

108 THE PROVOCATION. [iii. 15. 

pressed on his readers ; nor the death of individual believers ; ^ 
" but the coming of the Lord, which is constantly called by this 
name," as Alford ^ says. But this is true in a different sense from 
that intended by Alford. It is the coming of the Lord described, 
2 Thess. i. 7 sqq. ; ii. 3 sqq., as attending the apostasy, which, as 
we have seen, our Author also holds out in prospect. That apos- 
tasy and the consequent rejection of the Jews will end the to-day 
for those in their peculiar situation, whom the Autlior addresses. 
Those that hold the beginning of their confidence steadfast to 
that end, will not afterwards encounter the danger that evokes 
the present warning. As far, then, as that trial can test the 
matter (and they could be subjected to no greater test ; moreover, 
taken as a community it would be decisive), their holding fast 
will establish the reality of their being the house of God and 
companions of Christ. Perfidy and hardening will show that 
they never were such in fact. 

The text says : If we hold, etc., the idv-Kep expressing, that the 
companionship mentioned is so far, and only just so far, the case 
as the holding fast, etc., is the case.^ 

Representing, that : " We have become companions of Christ," 
with the important qualification mentioned, the Author adds that 
this has taken place : 

Ver. 15. While it is said: To-day if ye will hear his voice, 
harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. 

This is also connected by the For (ver, 14,) with tlie foregoing, 
according to the representation of the logical connection given 
above. The h tw kiysffi'Mt is to be taken temporally.* Chry- 
sostom views the context as an inversion of statements, and, 
making a parenthesis of vers. 16-19, he connects our ver. 15 
with 9?o;9r;//w,a£v ouv /njmns x. r. A. iv. 1. He represents the logi- 
cal connection of our h rm Xiyso(T'9at, as follows : " For we, too, 
have had a gospel preached unto us, even as also they, when it is 
said. To-day if ye will hear His voice." While taking a differ- 
ent view of the context, we may appeal to this construction in 
support of it. It is as good sense to say : " We have become 

^ As Stuart. ^ Similarly Liin. ' So von Hof. 

* See above, on ev rcf anoarfivai, ver. 12. 

iii. 16.] WHO DID PROVOKE? 109 

companions of Christ, when, or while it is said To-day," etc., 
as to say : " AVe have been preached to (evangelized), when 
it is said To-day." 

What is thus represented is, that becoming Christians, while 
it is said: To-day . . . provocation, justifies all the points of 
the counsel of ver 13, viz., to exhort one another, to do it daily, 
to do it until the end, and to do it expressly to prevent 

As in the provocation, in the Author's Psalm text, presents the 
example that prompts the present exhortation (as it did the 
Psalmists), with its counsel and warning. As an example, illus- 
trating the present danger, it is very comprehensive. Tlie Marn- 
ing not to harden their hearts, as in the provocation, is an inti- 
mation on the part of the speaker, that the present situation 
threatens to be like that. The prominent characteristics of that 
provocation are obviously many. The Apostle proceeds in the 
following vers. 16—19, to point to a few of them. We must 
admire the skill with which he chooses. He points the applica- 
tion with laconic and nervous vigor, that must have fallen on the 
hearts of his readers with bewildering impetuosity, that nothing 
could ward off, and that must have been most effective Avith 
every one that was not already hardened. In doing this, he 
resorts to the interrogative form of self-evidential appeal, which 
is only the more convincing. The representations of these verses 
ouffht to have the same force with the Christian reader now. 
For there is ever some form of antichrist present in the world 
(2 John, 7 sqq.), as formidable as that against which the present 
epistle contended. And under the influence of that antichrist, 
those that are partakers of a heavenly calling are in danger of 
hardening their hearts, as the Israelites in the provocation. 

Hie first point that the Apostle makes prominent in the warn- 
ing example of the provocation, is the universality of it, 

Ver. 16. J'or who, when they heard did provoke? Nay, did 
not all they that came out of Egypt by Moses ? 

The universality affirmed in this second clause, had the excep- 
tions of Caleb and Joshua, as every one knows. Because the 
universal statement, without mention of exceptions, seemed to con- 


flict with the fact, this second clause was from the earliest times 
commonly read as not being interrogative like the first.^ Accord- 
ingly, the Version 1611 reads as if this clause made the excep- 
tion : " Howbeit not all that came," etc. But this is now 
generally agreed to be an error. 

The second point that the Apostle makes is, referring to the 
greatness of God's anger, to call attention to what provoked dis- 
pleasure so great. 

Ver. 17. And with whom was he displeased forty-years ? Was it 
not with those that sinned ? Whose members fell in the wilderness. 

There is no antithesis implied here with such as were not 
objects of divine displeasure. The j^oint is to make prominent 
that it was sinning that provoked such displeasure that lasted 
forty years. The Author is evidently making a climax, in 
which the oath, with its consequences, represents more than the 
displeasure and its consequences. Accordingly, his reference in 
the present instance is to the event named ]\Iassah, recorded 
Exodus xvii. 1-7, from which, according also to Moses, Deut. 
vi. 16, the displeasure of God dated. The Author's text says: 
"As in the provocation," (ver. 15), and here he points to the first 
stej) in tliat hardening, which he sufficiently identifies by calling 
it sinning. 

The following clause : " whose members fell in the wilderness," 
if included in the question, would serve further to identify those 
that were the objects of such displeasure. But this identifica- 
tion is plain enough without such addition, and moreover, has 
been given with precision in the foregoing verse as : " all those 
that came out of Egypt with Moses." It is more to the point 
to emphasize the displeasure that such sinning provoked. More- 
over, seeing that in ver. 19 we" have an impressive affirmation 
following the questions of ver. 18, it is better ^ to put the inter- 
rogation at sinned, and take the following clause as a direct 
statement. Then, we must understand the Authi^r as uttering 
an impressive reminder of the purport of that displeasure that 
lasted forty years, and how it actually took effect. 

^ See, in Alford, the history of the exegesis. 

* With Bengel, Del., von Hof., Griesbach, Lachman, Tischend. 


Tlie third point that the Author makes is, to remind the read- 
ers that God (])roceeding to more than displeasure that lasted 
forty years) sware that they should nut enter ijito His rest, and to 
bid them notice what led to that final and fatal r&mlt. It was 

Yer. 18. And to whom sware he that they should not enter 
into his rest, but to them that were disobedient ? 

The event referred to was that recorded Num. xiv. 22 sqq. 
The sinning was then more obstinate and aggravated than the 
former event from which God's displeasure dated. (Comp. Deut. 
i. 26 sqq.) It was actual rebellion, and the Author also means by 
disobedience to call it by a worse name. As such God treated it 
with greater severity than mere displeasure. He was wroth, and in 
His wrath He sware that they should not enter into His rest. 

Such are the points that the Apostle makes prominent in that 
provocation in the wilderness, that his Psalm text holds up as a 
warning example. On men's part the example shows the univer- 
sality of the transgression, and how they proceeded to extremi- 
ties of sin. On God's part it shows how He, too, proceeded to 

The Apostle has made the foregoing representations, vers. 16- 
18, in support of his exhortation, ver. 12, the chief point of 
which is : " Take heed [iSXineTe = see) lest there shall be in any 
one of you perfidy." He concludes them with the statement : 

Ver. 19. And we see {i3/J-(>/i$v — 8t^ amaziw^^ that they were 
not able to enter in because of perfidy. 

As Ebrard expresses it, "we have in these words a kind of 
quod erat demonstrandum.^' ^ The identity of so^ie of the 
words with those of the exhortation, ver. 12, shows that the 
Author is pursuing the same thought. What is demonstrated 
is the justice of that warning against perfidy, founded on the 
Psalm text, quoted before ver. 12. The Author's comments on 
that text in vers. 16-18, show that those concerned were excluded 
from God's rest. And we see that they could not, etc., is not an 
affirmation in confirmation of the foregoing statement of ver. 18, 
as if it said : and in fact they did not enter in, as wa see.^ The 

^ Similarly, de Wette, Liin. ' Against von Hof. 

112 A PROMISE OF REST IS LEFT. [iii. 19. 

emphasis is on aTnazia = perfidy. This different word is not meant 
as the synonym of "sinning" (ver. 17), nor of disobedience 
(ver. 18), nor as the comprehensive expression of both. It points 
to an interior quality that is the source of both, fully expressed in 
ver. 12 as : "an evil heart of perfidy." To this the Author, by 
an emphatic affirmation, ascribes all the conduct and consequence 
of that provocation in the wilderness. It is a trait of our 
Author to go back to the ultimate sources of facts he represents. ^ 
He does so here. Our verse 19 (as the xal = and shows), is no 
inference from the foregoing, but the Author's statement of the 
fundamental truth that explains the facts recited. He refers all 
to their dnKTvia and says : they could not enter in. He says : We 
see, associating his readers with himself as he does, ver. 6 : 
"whose house we are/' and ver. 14 : "We are become compan- 
ions of Christ ... if we hold fast," and still continues to do 
all through chap. iv. 

The application of the Apostle's Psalm text used as a warning, 
in other words, the full force of the similarity of the present and 
the ancient situation intimated by : " as in the provocation," 
appears when it is seen that now, as then, there is a promise of 
entering into God's rest. Without such likeness, indeed, there 
would be no parallel, and consequently little point in the warn- 
ing example. What in Christian readers could be perfidy, 
apostasy, or turning back, and hardening like that of the Israel- 
ites, unless they were under the same promise of a rest ? or at 
least a similar promise ? And what application of that extremity 
of God's wrath, viz., exclusion from His rest, if now He offers 
no rest ? The warning example would of course apply exactly if 
they had still the same promise extended to them. Then, beside 
having the same living God to deal with, they are also related to 
him by the same conditions, only made plainer by His past 
judgments, and especially by the fact that they " are become 
companions of Christ." (iii. 14.) 

It is, then, as pressing the point of his warning and counsel, 
iii. 12-19, that the Apostle proceeds, in chap. iv. 1-10, to show 
that those who are become the companions of Christ have still 

* Comp. ii. 10. 


the promise of rest, as well as those that came out of Egypt with 
Moses. Such appears to be the progress of thought in tlie pro- 
sent context. And thus the Author connects what follows by 
the simple illative particle («5v). 

TV. 1 . Let us fear, then, lest haply, a promise being left of enter- 
ing into his rest, any one of you should suppose himself to have 
come too late. 

At iii. 12, 15, the Apostle addresses his readers only in the 
second person plural, and the predicates : " take ye heed lest in 
any one of you," and : " exhort ye lest any one of you," express 
action that must be exclusively their concern. In our verse, 
however, he combines the first and second persons in a noticeable 
way. He says : Let us fear, because it is his fear, and he would 
make it the fear of his readers. The thing feared, however, is 
their danger and not his. Therefore he says : lest any one of you. 
" Let us fear " means also : take care ; and the Apostle makes it 
his care to guard against the danger, not only by warning his 
readers of it, but also by providing the correction for it. By 
saying : a promise being left of entering into his rest, he both 
affirms a fact, and presents it as a matter of solicitude in the way 
expressed by : " lest — any of you should suppose himself to have 
come too late " for it. His readers can only share his fear for 
some of their number, when they see the fact to be as expressed, 
viz., a promise is left of entering God's rest. That any could 
suppose they were too late, was, in other words, to suppose no 
such promise was left and still operative. The only way to 
obviate this fear is to show that the promise is left. By saying : 
let us fear, the Apostle intimates his purpose of obviating the 
apprehended danger by such a demonstration. Thus our ver. 1 
proposes the subject of the following discourse to ver. 11. 

What has just been noticed may account for, and at the same 
time help to interpret, certain ambiguities in the present verse 
beside the combination of the first and second persons already 
remarked on.^ 

'Thus, whether Karalsiir. . . . avrov depends on vrrrfpvKhai; or whether 
KaTaTiei-iT. kTrajyel. is gen. absolute ; whether the latter means: a promise ncfjlrrted, 
or : a promise being left. These points are not to be settled, as in Liin., .\ Ifi ird 


114 Oarspr^xivai. [iv. 1. 

By saying : " a promise being left of entering into his rest," 
the Author both affirms a fact and presents it as a matter of 
solicitude in the way expressed. He says : " let us fear." It is 
his fear, and he would make it the fear of his readers. But it 
can only become such by his representing to them the important 
truth in question. 

It is important that Christians now-a-days should recognize 
how unique is the subject that the Apostle here represents to his 
readers. His exposition of his Psalm text makes it appear how 
the truth in question is found in the Old Testament. But in 
the New Testament, this representation of the goal of salvation 
as being God's rest into which believers are to enter stands quite 
alone. After the Apostles passed away, the Christian form of 
this Old Testament truth must have been quite unfamiliar in 
Christian circles, except as this epistle gradually won its Vv^ay to 
general canonical recognition. This was long after there had 
ceased to be churches made up of converted Hebrews, and cir- 
cumstanced as the original readers of this epistle were. This 
fact makes it possible that much of our epistle, and especially 
this, its most unique teaching, would be read with Gentile eyes, 
that is, with habits of thought that would miss the points as they 
would be apprehended by primitive Jewish converts. It is the 
Gentile interpretation that has been handed down to us as tradi- 
tional. The fact now alluded to should remind us also how it 
is possible that, with our best efforts to put ourselves in the place 
of the original readers, we still may fail to see and read as intel- 
ligently as they. Such considerations have their importance in 
estimating the merits of conflicting interpretation. One of the 
most important of these demands attention at the very threshold 
of our chap. iv. 

It has been traditional to render iJ-rir^ort. . . . doxfj r:? ^| u/iw'y 
u<7T£pTf/.i'ya[ : " lest any one of you should seem to have come short 
of it," or similarly ; the common notion being, that uarsp-qy 
expresses " failure to reach the goal." The rendering given 
above: "lest any one of you should suppose himself to have been 

(comp. Eaphelius, ^?7no^ Philol. ex Polyb. et Arrian) by remarking on the 
absence of the article (comp. von Hof. in loc). 

iv. 1.] doxiuj. 115 

too late" (for it), is recommended by G. Raphel (f 1740) in his 
"Annot. Philol. ex Polyb. et Arriau, 1715." It is that of 
Schoettgen (f 1751) in liis Hor. Heb. 1733, and of J. Sieg. 
Baumgarteu (f 1757), " Erklaerungd. Briefesa. d., Hebr. 1763." 
It has been adopted later by Bretscueider and Wahl, in their 
Lexicons,' and latest by Ebrard and von Hofniann, in their com- 
mentaries on our epistle.^ 

According as the one or the other rendering is adopted, so 
the view of the whole passage, vers. 1-10, will be affected. 
According to the traditional rendering, the aim of the Author 
Mull appear to be, to present considerations fitted to prevent his 
readers from falling short of the promised rest. According to 
the rendering now proposed, his aim will appear to be, to show 
his readers that they are not too late to enjoy the benefit of the 
promised rest ; — and, also, not too late to be excluded from that 
rest in requital of an evil heart of perfidy as were those of old. 
We shall confine our notice to the rendering now offered.^ 

As a question of translation, there can be no important objec- 
tion made to it. Such is the use of uffzepiw, and the perfect 
uarefirj/.i'^ac here can have no other sense ; and much the most 
common meaning of (JaxiM in the New Testament, is : " to sup- 
pose." * Alford shows all this, and has nothing to object to the 
rendering but logical reasons drawn from the context. And so 
also Delitzsch and Davidson. But precisely such reasons sup- 
port it. Every reader sees that, as a njatter of fact, the burden 
of vers. 2-10 is to show, that the promise of entering God's rest 
is still in force, and this constitutes the singular importance of 
this unique passage of scripture. On the other hand, the notion 
of falling short of obtaining that rest is not again presented, 
except in a reference to those who of old entered not in. IMore- 
over, a warning against falling short of that rest, through 
ignorance of there being still a promise of it, is, as a warning, 
much inferior in pungency to that of iii. 12, 13, against perfidy 

' sub voce, varepeo). * See Alford. 

' Comp. Del., Alford, who expressly combat it, and represent the traditional 
* Comp. X. 29. 

11(3 iff/J-sv eoTjyyehff/iivot. [iv. 2 CO. 

and hardness of heart, and is, in fact, included in the other, as 
the less is included in the greater. 

In the foregoing prefatory remarks on our chapter, an ade- 
quate and contextually logical motive has been shown for warn- 
ing the readers not to suppose they are too late to have the 
benefit of the promised rest. And, finally, the unique and 
unfamiliar doctrine concerning God's rest is itself evidence 
enough that the illusion referred to was common. So that it 
seems incomprehensible how Delitzsch can say, " it could only 
be entertained by a deranged man." And, seeing the importance 
and preciousness of the doctrine, the need of setting it forth was 
very great, as the dangers of ignorance must be very serious. 

The Author says again : * " lest haply, any one of you," thus 
implying, that, the illusion referred to is common, and that it is 
only a question whether some of his readers should become the 
victims of it. Those that entertained the illusion that they were 
too late for the promise of entering into God's rest, were in 
general, such as did not believe the truth implied in Ps. xcv. 11, 
as the Apostle expounds it. This appears from rj Ttiffrat ver. 2, 
and from what is affirmed of ol TZKT-suffavze^ ver. 3. We mean, 
of course, belief in the truth involved in this Psalm, that is, the 
truth of the good tidings mentioned in the following verse ; not 
belief that the Psalm taught the truth now in question. The 
latter would not have been believed or conceived to the present 
day but for the exposition in the chapter before us. 

The Apostle begins to prove the statement, that there is left a 
promise of entering into God's rest, by affirming : 

Yer. 2 a. For we, too, have had good tidings preached unto us, 
even as those also. 

This statement is not to be taken as the equivalent of: "there 
is left a promise of entering into his rest," expressed in other 
words, with the additional notion that the promise is extended to 
us.^ By employing the comprehensive term iff/xkv eb-^yytXiaiiivot, 
which he uses again ver. 6, the Author shows, that he appeals to 
the fact of the proclamation of God's grace in all its length and 

^ Comp. iii. 12, 13 ; and Ka^uq Tiveg avruv 1 Cor. x. 7, 8, 9. 
* Against Davidson. 

iv. 2 6. J GUVASxapiffixivowi. 117 

breadth ; for which, both in the Old and the New Testament, 
the proper expression is to " preach good tidings." Comp. Isa. 

lii. 7 in the LXA.. j tws- ~6dt^ eua-p's/.tl^o/jLiviiu dxoijv eiprjvs<;. The 

same thing is referred to in the next clause of our verse by the 
term 6 Xoyo^ t^? axw/;?. Tliis proclamation we * have " as well 
as those " others {ixs'ivot), by M'hom are meant the Israelites in 
the desert. By affirming this at the present point, the Author 
comprehends all such hearers of all times under one class. This 
proclamation, in Moses' time, was a call to enter God's rest. Pie 
means to show that it is the same now ; as, indeed, it has always 
been and will be while good tidings are preached. It was so in 
Moses' time, because God's rest remained as something for per- 
sons to enter. It is so still, for the same reason. It is this the 
Author aims to show. 

The fact that those of old were not able to enter in might seem 
to end the proclamation (axorj) so far as it was an offer of sharing 
GocVs rest. To show that such was not the fact, but only that, 
for cause, the proclamation was inoperative in their case, the 
Author adds the explanation of: 

Ver. 2 b. But the word of proclamation did not profit those not 
combined by faith with them that heard.* 

Taking the text of our ver. 2 6 as given in Westcott & Hort, 
we translate axun^ " proclamation." It means, not " the hearing," 

' Emphatic ; against Davidson. 

* By tlie rules of textual criticism, that are regarded as imperative in other 
cases, it is clear, that we must accept, as the correct text, here : 'cKEtvovg fi?) 
owKEKEpaa/xEvovg Ty Tr/ore* Tolg aKomaaiv. Only the difficulty of making sense 
out of it is against it. That very fact, however, in the case of other disputed 
texts, is, by rule put in the balance in favor of the reading of which it is true. 
It ought to be allowed the same influence here. Comp. Liinemann on this 
point, who fairly represents the state of the question, yet decides in favor of 
tlie reading of the T. R. {(JvyKeKpa/iivog), solely on tlie ground that the other 
reading " conflicts with the context and is nonsense." Westcott and Ilort 
adopt the ovvKEKapia/jtvovg. But in their " Notes on select readings," p. 120, 
having represented the state of the text, they s;iy: "After much hesitation, we 
have marked this very difficult pa.ssage, as probably containing a primitive 
corruption." Alford, adojiting the same reading, says : " The passage is almost 
a locus desperatus." It is this reading that has been adopted by the Kevision 
of 1881. Tischendorf Ed. viii. takes the other reading. 


but the thing heard, " announcement." ^ " The word of proclama- 
mation," says the Author (by which he means that which was 
the preaching of good tidings to those of old), " did not profit 
those not combined with them that heard." In this representa- 
tion he designates those that were not pi'ofited, and at the same 
time by his descriptive designation : ('* those not combined by 
faith with them that heard"), he points to tlie reason why they 
were not profited, ffu/xspdwu/u means, "to mix, commingle 
closely " (comp. 1 Cor, xii. 24). So describing those that the word 
did not profit, the Author ascribes the failure to the lack of faith 
in them ; and intimates, on the other hand, that others heard 
with profit ; that faith, had the former had it, would have com- 
bined them with the latter in this profiting. By this is equally 
implied, that faith was the profitable ingredient of the hearing 
of " them that heard." We have thus a very pregnant sentence, 
after the manner of our Author, who not seldom has recourse to 
such breviloquence. 

By this rendering, we understand the Author to distinguish 
two classes among those of old that had good tidings preached 
to them, viz., those that did not and those that did hear with 
profit. And we understand him to designate the latter by the 
simple expression : " them that heard." Both of these notions have 
been deemed inadmissable. The former because, as it is supposed, 
iii. 16 shows that the Author allows of no such distinction;^ 
the second, because in such close conjunction with axni;?, the fol- 
lowing dxou(Ta/T(y canuot mcau " to hearken or obey." ^ To begin 
with the second objection, we remark, that the meaning "to 
hearken, or to obey," is not necessary here, and is not implied 
by the context ; but only " hearing with profit." In support of 
this meaning for nn? d/.obaaav^^ let it be noticed that the Author's 
Psalm text, which underlies the whole context, and is constantly 
reiterated (iii. 7, 15; iv. 7), means by: "if ye will hear His 
voice " {axohar^ri), just this genuine, profitable hearing. This, 
then, ought to prescribe the sense in which we are to accept 

' Comp. Liin., Alford, Del., von Hofmann, etc, and 1 Thess. ii. 13. 

^ So de Wette, Liin., Davidson. ^ So Liin., Del., von Hof., Lindsay. 


axoijstv in the context ; so that wliere that meaning is not intended 
some qualifying words must show it. And (to notice the former 
of the above objections) such is the case at iii. 16. It must be 
admitted, when attention is called to it, that the question : "who, 
having heard, provoked ?" suggests also the contrary question : 
who, having heard, did not provoke f And, following the Psalm 
text : " To-day, if ye will hear his voice," the latter would be 
described simply as " them that heard " {ruhq axobaavrti). And 
further, the Author's answer to his own question in iii. 16, given 
interrogatively : " Nay, did not all they that came out of Egypt 
with Moses?" allows us (even if we leave out of view Caleb and 
Joshua, as the Author does) to think of all the rest of Israel 
that did not come out of Egypt as excepted. And in the end 
these actually did hear the word of proclamation, so as to profit, 
as the others did not. Moreover, our Author shows that he 
does not ignore these profitable hearers, for at ver. 8 he expressly 
refers to them when mentioning Joshua's performance. 

This, then, is the purport of our verse 2. Good tidings from 
God are preached unto us as well as to them of old. In this 
respect the people of God of all time are alike. AYhile some of 
old did not profit by the preaching, as others did, it was because 
they had not faith. Faith would have combined them with those 
that heard with profit. It is to be noted, that, in this represen- 
tation, the Author expresses the antithesis only as, that some 
heard without profit and some with profit. He does not say 
that the one sort did not and the other sort did enter into the 
rest. In fact, none of those that were preached to entered in 
(vers. 6). And to the present none have entered into that rest 
(corap. xi. 13, 39, 40). Nevertheless, then and since, those that 
heard in faith held a very different relation to the promised rest 
from those that heard without faith. The preaching profits the 
former ; it does not profit the latter. The profit of the former 
is, that while they hear believingly they still have left a promise 
of entering into God's rest. The profit of faith is even more 
than this, as appears by the statement of: 

Ver. 3, a. For we enter into the rest who believed. 

The connection denoted by : For is with the foregoing verse. 

120 WE WHO HAVE BELIEVED [iv. 3 6-5. 

especially the latter clause of it. But it attaches to what we have 
noted is implied as the affirmative contrary of what is there 
denied. We may paraphrase the connection thus : " The word 
of proclamation profited them that heard it believingly. For we 
enter into the rest who believed." Thus our ver. 3 a explains 
what the profiting is, viz., entering the rest. 

The Author says: "For we enter;" not: For they enter, 
which most readers expect to read. But he says " we," because 
in ver. 2 a, he has just comprehended all hearers of " the voice 
of God " (iii. 7), in one class without regard to times. His " we " 
means " the people of God " (ver. 9). " We enter," expressed 
in the present tense, sets forth the truth in the abstract as the 
consequence of believing ; while " believed " (aorist) is said with 
reference to the preaching, which is represented as in tlie past 
(j kuyoii r^9 axuT^<s). When the announcement was made, then, it 
was believed. 

The Author's statement, ver 3 a, taken with ver. 2, affirms, 
that they who hear the gospel believingly enter into the rest. He 
proceeds, in support of this, to show that the promise of rest is 
still in force (ver. 3 6-10). This is his main proposition of ver. 
1 : " there is a promise left of entering into his rest." Though 
the proof of this first begins here, vers. 2, 3 o, cannot be treated 
as parenthetical. For the fact that the promise is still in force 
would be nothing without the fact that good tidings are still pro- 
claimed to us. The Author's tchole proposition is : there is left a 
promise of entering into his rest, and the offer of it is made 
to us. 

Continuing, then, in close connection by using "even as" 
(za>9tw9), he says : 

Ver. 3 6. Even as he hath said : As I sware in my wrath : 
They shall not enter into my rest ; althong-h the works were finished 
from the foundation of the world. 4. For he hath said somewhere 
of the seventh [day] on this wise : And God rested on the seventh 
day from all his works ; 5. and in this [place] again : They shall 
not enter into my rest. 

The Apostle's argument in this comparison of the Old Testa- 
ment passages is evident enough. It is intended to show, that 

iv. 3 b-b] DO ENTER THE REST. 121 

God's rest is something that continues. " It remains " (/irToXstTz^rat), 
is his own way of stating the couchision, vcr. 6. Quoting again 
his Psahii text, he calls attention to how it signifies that in 
Moses' time an offer was made of entering God's rest. "My 
rest," is the significant expression, which the Apostle takes in 
its most literal sense as that ichcrein God i-ests. And in the entire 
context he uses "rest," both as substantive and verb, with this 
meaning, except only in ver. 10.^ Thus he reads the Psalm 
differently from any other reader. The ordinary reader could 
only understand the possessive : " My rest," as meaning that rest 
which God had to give his people, in which they might rest. And 
by reference to Num. xiv. 23, 30 ; Dent. i. 35 ; xii. 9, the ordi- 
nary reader ^ infers that " my rest " refers to the promised land. 
But the Apostle evidently identifies "my rest" with the rest 
wherein " God rested the seventh day from all His works," Gen. 
ii. 2, and thus assumes this to be the meaning of the Holy Spirit 
(iii. 7) speaking in his Psalm text. He calls attention to the fact 
that God's works were done when He finished the creation, and 
He rested then. Quoting Gen. ii. 2, he shows that this is God's 
rest. Comparing with this his Psalm text, he shows that, 
according to the Psalm, the promise of rest was offered in INIoses' 
time, and that it was a promise of participation in the rest 
wherewith God rested. This occurring so long after, shows that 
God's rest is a continuing thing, something that " remains." 
The inference presented is not, that it did remain till the time 
of Moses, but that, remaining till the time of INIoses, it is some- 
thing that remains always. Moreover, the language appealed to 
shows at the same time that God's rest, begun on the seventh 
day, remains as something He offers to share with them that 

Instead of formally drawing these evident conclusions from 
the passages he has collated to that effect, the Author proceeds 
to present them as premises for a further inference, viz., his main 
proposition, that there is now a promise of entering " that rest " 
(ver. 11). 

^ Comp. Davidson, in loc, and especially the reflective note, p. 97 sqq. 
^ Comp. Hengstenberg, J. A. Alexander on Psalm xcv. 11. 

122 THE REST CONTINUES TO CE. [iv. 6 a. 

Yer. 6 a. Since then it [the rest] remains for persons to enter 
into it, 

It is thus, the Author, by one expression, presents (a) the 
double inference from the foregoing, viz., that the rest remains, 
and that it is for persons to enter, and (6) premises (marlved by 
" since " iirei) for further inference. He says, " it remains," in 
the simplest meaning of aTtoXd-zrat, " to be left as, or where it 
was;" as Paul says : ''I left {a-iXntov) my cloak at Troas, with 
Carpus" (2 Tim. iv. 13). He says, "it remains" in the same 
sense that he says, using the same word, that "there remains a 
keeping of Sabbath " (ver. 9), and that " there remains no more 
a sacrifice for sins " (x. 26). He says " it " {the rest) remains. 
For y; xardTzaumg is the Subject of the verb, not only because it 
reigns over the whole context as the chief notion discoursed on, 
but also because it is actually expressed in the foregoing clause 
of ver. 5, It needs no more to be expressed than the subject of 
drziXcTTov, 2 Tim. iv. 13. He says in a universal way : " for per- 
sons to enter in." For so rcyd'? is to be taken here, as in Rom. 
iii. 8, and often.^ There is nothing in the context to justify the 
very common notion, that the Author means to say emphatically, 
that some must enter in,^ or (to express it diiferently), " The 
table of the Lord shall not want guests ; God will bring men to 
the rest." ^ 

Th this premise is joined a second, still connected with the 
"since" {i-s() that introduces the first clause of our ver, 6. 

Ver. 6 b. And they to whom good tidings were before preached 
did not enter in because of disobedience, 

If it were the Apostle's purpose, in mentioning this with the 
foregoing, to represent that, since some must enter, and these did 
not, therefore, God set another day so as to have some enter. He 
would not add that " because of disobedience " they entered not 
(comp. iii. 19). This cause of their not entering is precisely the 
point of the present mention. It resumes the statement of ver. 
2 b, and pairs it with the other result obtained, viz., that the rest 
remains for persons to enter. Since disobedience, and not that 

^ See Grimm's Lex., sub voc. ^ So Alford. 

^So Lindsay; similarly Stuart, McLean, Davidson. 


the rest beeame non-existent, was the reason of their exchision 
who were first preached to, the promise of the rest may be 
extended to others. And having stated these premises, the 
Author immediately points to the fact that it was so extended, 
and is still, saying : 

Ver. 7. Again he sets a day, To-day, in David saying after so 
long a time, as was said above : To-day, if ye will hear his voice, 
harden not your hearts. 

In : " He sets a day," ^ neither 6/jt^et nor rr^d implies such a 
notion of special limitation as is expressed by the rendering : 
" deiineth a certain day." ^ nvd ijiiipav = " a day " is in apposition 
with atjtitpov = "To-(\•^^y" and T:poeipr,rat refers to the Author's 
own mention of it at iii. 7,^ and is equivalent to : " as I said 

The long interval from the seventh day of creation to the 
Exodus, and the oifer at the latter period of entering God's rest, 
show that this rest, as a rest for persons to enter, remains. Now, 
by appeal again to his Psalm text, the Apostle shows that " in 
David" (which means in inspired words (iii. 7), commonly 
ascribed to David, as by the LXX. ; but means, in effect and par- 
ticularly, in David's * day, as the clause : " after so long a time " 
shows,) the offer oj entering that rest is made again. For such 
is the point of our ver. 7 ; not that this long interval shows that 
the rest remains. This latter has been proved. The "To-day" 
of the Psalm is the day of grace since it was uttered. And, 
" To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart," by 
the Apostle's exposition, sets this day as a time when one may 
enter the rest ; and, as a voice of God calling to us, it is a 
promise to us of entering His rest. And this proves the proposi- 
tion announced in ver. 1 . " There is a promise," etc. 

Having now followed the Author's reasoning from ver. 1, to 
this, its result, we note that nothing in it bears on the notion of 
failing to attain that rest ; but everything here said shows, tliat 
there is left a jiromise, and how it becomes operative. This, 

* So de Wette, Liin., et. al , render. On dplCei conip. Acts vii. 26. 

^ Revision of 1881. ^ So Calvin, de Wette. 

' Against Davidson, p. 87, who assigns the Psalm to tlie pcriotl of captivity. 

124 "my REST:" PS. xcv. 11. [iv. 7. 

then, bears out the rendering : " lest any one of you should 
suppose he is too late for it." 

The most remarkable thing in the foregoing exposition by the 
Apostle (iv. 1-7) is his identifying " the rest " called in the Ps. 
xcv. 11 "my rest," with God's resting referred to Gen. ii. 2, and 
that he does so without any notice of the fact that no one else 
had so read the words. This latter fact, because he seems to 
read as if he supposed every one must so read, misleads his inter- 
preters, and induces the effort to understand him in some way 
consistent with the common way of reading Ps. xcv. Yet 
penetrating minds easily discover the impossibility of doing so, 
and resort to other expedients. Calvin calls the Author's man- 
ner in this passage : "embellishing," (exornare incepit), in contrast 
with his manner in iii. 7-19, which he calls treating the Psalm 
text literally, i. e., " in its genuine sense." And he compares the 
present manner of the Author to what he calls Paul's way of 
working up {iTte^syaffia) a text. Yet, spite of what he says in 
justificatiou of the performance he imputes to the Apostle, this 
view of the passage makes it little better than blowing bubbles 
with the w^ater of life. Moreover, such a view could only en- 
courage the "torturing" of the passage of which Calvin com- 
plains as so common. For what the Apostle is supposed to allow 
himself, others will try to imitate. 

If the Author's manner of introducing scripture here were in 
the free way that we observe in chap. i. 4 sqq. ; ii. 11-13, viz., 
without formal citation and without exposition, we might admit 
such a view as Calvin's. But it is impossible to suspect him of 
taking such liberties, as would appear in the present case, with 
scripture that he introduces with the solemn words : " As saith 
the Holy Spirit," (iii. 7). His concluding words, (iv. 7), in 
taking leave of his Psalm-text : " As was said above. To-day," 
etc., show that from iii. 7-iv. 7, he treats it in the same earnest 
spirit and with the same regard for its genuine sense that Calvin 
recognizes in iii. 7—19. 

It is better to understand that the Apostle reads the Psalm 
correctly, and that by the words : " my rest " the Holy Spirit, 
meant the rest with or in which God rests, though all other 


readers had failed to see it. Paul also read the phrases : " my 
righteousness," "thy righteousness," and the like in the Old Testa- 
ment, where the possessiv^e pronoun refers to God, in away different 
from all that read before him, of whom we have knowledge. 
Before his reading, such expressions were universally supposed 
to mean a righteousness that was God's exclusively, as in Ps. 
xcv. 11: " My rest " was supposed to mean a rest that was 
man's exclusively, so far as the enjoyment of the rest was con- 

Let us suppose that in Rom. i. 16 sqq., Paul had written in 
this fashion : " Let us fear lest some of you may be ashamed of 
the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew 
and also to the Greek. For therein is revealed a righteousness 
of God, as saith the Holy Spirit : The Lord hath made known 
his salvation, his righteousness hath he openly showed in the 
sight of the heathen." Thus he read Ps. xcviii. as no one ever 
thought of understanding " his righteousness." It is as like as 
not, that, when writing Rom. i. 16, 17, Paul had in mind Ps. 
xcviii. 3, as any other Old Testament scripture. ^ Old Testa- 
ment scripture obviously underlies what he says ; and it is such 
as speaks of God's righteousness. He says the gospel reveals 
{Iv avT(l) dTToxahjTZTsrac) that righteousness. As we follow, while 
he gives the gospel, we see that such is indeed the fact. It is 
nothing less than a new revelation of the righteousness of God, 
when we see that it is something imputed to us, though he shows 
that it was there in the Old Testament. It was there unrevealed. 

In the hands of our inspired Author, " My rest " of Ps. xcv. 11, 
also unfolds with a glory previously unsuspected. This, too, is a 
revelation, as well as the other, and we have it through the same 
gospel. It is another reason for not being ashamed of that 
gospel. It is something like being so ashamed, when one demurs 
to the meaning the Apostle attaches to " my rest," because no 
one ever before so read. We may expect revelation from him. 

Paul secures prevalence for his intei-pretation of " God's right- 
eousness," by the fullness and point of his discourse about it. 
Yet we may remember, that we owe our understanding of it to 

^See Analytical Comm. on Bom., Rev. John Forbes, LL.D., p. 113, 


one man, on whose authority we accept it as an inspired interpre- 
tation of the Old Testament truth. We may reflect, too, that it 
would have been just as true had Paul announced it but once, 
and as briefly, as the truth regarding " God's rest " is announced 
in the passage before us. Let us accord the same authority to 
the present inspired interpretation. Had the New Testament 
been as largely written for Christian Jews as for Christian 
Gentiles, we might have had more about God's promised rest. 
AYhat we have is, anyway, as clear and unmistakable as any 
single passage taken by itself, that treats of the righteousness of 
God, or of the state of redeemed souls after the present life. 

That the Author does not comment on the false, or rather 
imperfect reading of his Psalm text that was universal, need 
occasion no surprise. Where, in the many passages wherein he 
discourses of the righteousness of God, does Paul take such notice 
of the corresponding ignorance of that ? Finally, it ill-becomes 
anyone to assume against the Author, that the universal way of 
reading must be correct, or that it is a very important consider- 
ation in such a matter of interpretation, when we see how gener- 
ations have read texts in a fashion that has only been corrected 
lately, and is now universally conceded to have been false (comp. 
e.g. ii. 16.) 

Let iLs, then, take the Apostle's interpretation of " my rest " 
as correct on his authority. Grammatically and logically it has 
nothing against it. Once the difficulty of adopting it is sur- 
mounted, all the rest of his reasoning from it is as plain as any 
other New Testament comment on Old Testament scripture. He 
himself shows by appeal to Gen. ii. 2, (which we know is often 
referred to in the scriptures, and notably in the Fourth Com- 
mandment,) that there is a rest of God's own. INIoreover, when 
attention is called to it, we notice that the Psalmist's phrase " my 
rest " is peculiar and even unique, as applied to the events in the 
wilderness. It has no equivalent in the original records, as e. g. 
Num. xiv. 23, 30 ; Deut. i. 35 ; xii. 9. As the expression is 
actually original with the Psalmist, so it might mean to express 
what was never before expressed, viz., just what the Apostle 
takes it to mean. And this sense might be adopted in the other 


instances of using the same form of expression, and be found 
greatly to enrich the meaning of those passages (comp. Ps. cxxxii. 
8, 14 ; Isa. xi. 10 ; Ixvi. 1). 

And what we have as the result is a glorious doctrine. Jewish 
piety without our passage,' and Christian piety with the aid of 
it, have entertained the notion of a heavenly rest after this world 
that is to be an eternal Sabbath. But here it is revealed that we 
are to enter God's own rest wherein He rested when the creation 
was done. We are to rest with Him, rest as He rests, and with 
His rest. This is " the heavenly calling " (iii. 1). When God 
gave the promise to Abraham, and renewed it to those led forth 
from Egypt, it was to this rest he was calling them. In con- 
nection with giving them Canaan he would have realized this 
promise. There is no reason for not accepting this inference, if 
we pause there. It presents no greater difficulty, it presents, in 
fact, the identical notion that is suggested by our Lord's words 
of lament over Jerusalem : " If thou hadst known in this day, 
even thou, the things which belong unto peace," Luke xix, 42 ; 
" How often would I have gathered thy children together, even 
as a hen gathereth her own brood under her wings, and ye 
would not," Luke xiii. 34. What would have been, had the Jews 
accepted their Messiah ? How differently in time and circum- 
stances would have been realized the promise of entering into his 
rest ! Beyond that we cannot go. This is what is intended 
when good tidings are preached now unto us (vcr. 2). It will 
continue to be so as long as we have the voice of God saying : 
"To-day." A most important consideration involved in this 
doctrine is, that it reveals the unity of " the people of God " 
(ver. 9) of all ages. They have one " heavenly calling" (ver. 1) 
and are under the same divine discipline. And — which is the 
special application of the doctrine in the present context — it 
shows that unbelief and disobedience will be attended with the 
same sort of punishment as fell on those " whose members fell in 
the wilderness," iii. 17. For having established the truth tliat 
"there is left a promise of entering into his rest," the Apostle at 
ver. 11 exhorts : " Let us give diligence to enter into that rest," 

' See in Del. and Alford the presentation of this. 


and then adds the warning : " that no one fall in the same 
example of disobedience," 

It is not quite true that the Author takes no notice of the 
erroneous ways of reading his Psalm text. He has already 
reflected one of them in ver. 2 b. For, supposing that " my 
rest " meant more than the land of promise, the inference might 
be, that " the oath : they shall not enter my rest," ended that 
rest by withdrawing the promise of it. This mistaken notion 
has been corrected. But on the other hand, supposing "my 
rest " to mean only the promised land, it would be thought that 
those whom Joshua led into Canaan, did enter the rest. There- 
fore, as a promise fulfilled, there can now be no promise of enter- 
ing into that rest. It is to this notion that vers. 8-10 are 
directed, and they are only supplementary to the previous reason- 
ing. They add nothing to that finished argument, but only fortify 
it against the misapprehension that " the rest " was wholly a 
thing of the past. 

Ver. 8. For if Joshua gave them rest, he would not speak after 
that of another day. 

By this statement the Author represents (hypothetically, et) a 
situation when it would be too late for a promise of entering the 

But his appeal to his Psalm text, wherein God (for God is the 
subject of "would speak") does speak of another day, carries with 
it the proof that what Joshua did was no giving rest in the sense 
of " entering my rest." The supposed case did not exist. When 
our verse 8 says : " if Joshua gave them rest {y.aziT:av(T£-J) it means 
by : " to give rest " just what the Author understands the Psalm 
to mean by : " my rest," and that Joshua did not give that rest 
(ver. 11). 

When it says : " God speaks of another day," we are not to 
understand this as if it in any way expressed the notion of speak- 
ing of " another rest." This impression is a common one. 
Some ^ suppose the Author in vers. 1-10 discourses expressly 
of three rests, viz., of the seventh day, of Canaan, and of eternal 
rest ; and they treat the " speaking of another day " as expressing 

' So von Hof. ' e. g. McLean, Lindsay. 


the notion of another rest. Thus they interpret : " If Joshua, 
in giving them rest, hud given them all that rest wliich God 
intended, God would not," etc. The only meaning of "another 
day," is another opportunity of embracing the promise (one and 
the same) of entering the rest (one and the same) oifcred before. 

The statement of ver. 8 involves the denial, that what Joshua 
did was a giving of rest in the sense of " my rest " in the Psalm. 
But there is still another sense in which the " entering my rest " 
might be supposed to be fulfilled by God, and thus that it would 
be too late for a promise of entering his rest. God had given 
the Sabbath day to rest as He rested. This notion, if it existed 
in his readers,^ is counteracted by the statement of vers. 9, 10. 

Ver. 9. Then there remains keeping the Sabbath day to the 
people of God. 

This statement, introduced by apa, connects as an inference 
with the foregoing verse, and particularly with the negative 
notion presented there, viz., that entering Canaan was not enter- 
ing : " My rest." It is a sudden and impromptu inference, such 
as apa is used to introduce,^ that comes up much as a coincidence 

' Whether this conception may be imputed to the Authoi-'s contemporaries 
may be doubted. But that it can be entertained by Christian scholars, while 
studying the passages before us, is illustrated by McLean, Lindsay, etc. This 
fact makes it at least probable that the Author felt called on to deal with it in 
his readers. 

* The rendering of ver. 9, given above, is a departure from what is tradi- 
tional, and it is proper that, besides letting it speak for itself, we notii'e the 
reasons for rejecting the common interpretation. 

(L) It seems to have been overlooked that apa is never used to introduce the 
conclusion of an extended argument. As a conjunction, it keeps near its 
adverbial force, whirh " expresses the intimate connection and coincidence of 
two notions," Jelf, Gramm. ? 787, 1 ; comp. Kiihner, ^ 509, 1. "It expresses 
an inference made from a foregoing thought as something well-established. In 
itself apa has no syllogistic meaning ; this lies rather in the context, as a 
whole." Kiihner, ^ 54-5, 1. Excellent normal examples of its use arc Matt, 
xvii. 26, "Then are the children free;" Luke xi. 20, " IVicw (Version 1611, 
no doubt) is the kingdom of God come upon you." It may most always be 
best rendered by, "tiien." It refers, in every other instance in the New Testa- 
ment, to something expressed immediately before (comp. Rom. vii. 25; viii. 1). 
It may be doubted whether in any Greek it can be found introducing the con- 
clusion of an extended argument. Yet the common interpretation of our 


130 ^P"-' <y«i5/5ar£fl-/io?. [iv, 9. 

of notion, though stated syllogistically. One notion involves 
the other. The fact that entering Canaan was not entering God's 
rest, explains the continued existence of the institution of the 
Sabbath day. And the continuance of Sabbath keeping is evi- 
dence that the true rest has not been attained. aa[ifiari(TiJ.6<; means, 
" observance of the Sabbath." Tlie Author says this observance 
"remains" ('i-"/3:£'-sra:) in the same simple sense of the word 

verse makes it introduce a very triumphant conclusion of reasoning that 
extends through eight verses preceding. 

(2.) Supposing the common interpretation correct, that makes c!a,3(3aT. 
another expression for God's rest, the conclusion so announced would be rhe- 
torically and logically weak. All through an extended argument, the subject 
has been uniformly referred to by one name, KardTvamig, and in the conclusion 
it is referred to by another totally different, and that a word that occurs no 
where else previous to this writing and only once in contemporary writers 
(viz., Plut. Morals, de superstitwne, c. 3), and a word that has a meaning of its 
own quite difierent. Who would so announce a grand conclusion ? Not the 
Author of this polished epistle. It may be supposed that the singularity of 
the word suggests the extraordinary sense. And interpreters render ver. 9 : 
" There remains, therefore, a Sabbatism," and fancy that it sounds well and 
suggestive. Yet they overlook the fact that they need to explain this singular 
English expression. And our Author would need to do the same if his word 
were as singular. But it is not conclusive that (ya(i(iaTia/i6g, because it is not 
found in LXX., Philo. or Josephus, was an unusual word to his readers. It is as 
reo-ularly formed as hpraciio^, (iaTrriauog. Its use by Plutarch proves that it 
was a current word with only an ordinary meaning. It is quite gratuitous to 
suppose our Author coins it. (Against Bleek). In Christian writers it is of 
common enough occurrence, and used in its simple meaning only, exce^^t in 
comments on our text, and then its (supposed) extraordinary sense is only 
made plain by amplifications. Justin uses it interchangeably with cd(ijiaTa 
i^vMcaeiv and oafifiaTii^eiv [Dial. c. Tryph., c. 23). 

(3.) Were the common interpretation correct, it would not announce a pro- 
per conclusion to the Author's reasoning. This concludes that there remains 
a rest. His proposition was (ver. 1), "there is left a promise of entering the 
rest." There might be a rest, and yet no promise of it to the people of God 
now. Accordingly, we have seen the Author establish that the rest remains, 
as a premise to establishing further, that there is a promise of it offered now. 

(4.) As a conclusion (and even as a reiterated conclusion, which no one sup- 
poses it to be), our ver. 9 would be flat, because the conclusion has been pre- 
sented already at verse 6, " there remains the rest for persons to enter into it." 
Moreover, that conclusion is the glorious one that Go<fs rest remains, while this 
would only be a conclusion that a rest remains. 

(5.) Most decisive of all, aa^fiarujuog means, " to observe the Sabbath." 
This, of course, is undisputed. The only question is, does the Author mean 

iv. 9.] A PROOF TEXT. 131 

noted at ver. 6 (comp. x. 26), meaning that it was left and so 
remained as it was before, an ordinance for "the people of God." 
The import of tliis is, that had Joshua given them God's rest, 
observing Sabbath day would have ceased. There would have 
been no more keeping Sabbath day. The force of this reasoning, 
and the obviousness of it that justifies the terse way in which it 
is conveyed by an euthymeme, appears by comparison of x. 26. 

to use it in an exalted sense? There is nothing to intimate that he does. The 
word must have some history to stand itself for such a meaning. But the fact 
is, it has no history previous to its present use ; being found in antecedent 
Greek literature only in the one other place mentioned above. Or it must 
have such a meaning lent to it in the context by qualitication, or previous use. 
Of this there is nothing. Only the assumption, that in this verse the Author 
sums up the result of his reasoning, has induced the notion that he means by 
cafiliaT. the same as God's rest, and thus that he calls that rest a keeping of 
Sabbath. It is better to do as we have done ; seek a meaning for the context 
consistent with the primary and common sense of the word. 

(6.) We may ascribe the traditional interpretation to something more than 
a mistake. Here may be found one of the most important effects of our owing 
that traditional view to Gentile interpretation. It is obvious that the render- 
ing we have given ver. 9 involves the most important consequences concerning 
the observance of the Sabbath. It makes our verse the most pointed New 
Testament proof text for the perpetual obligation of the Fourth Command- 
ment. We have only to represent to our minds the apprehension with which 
these consequences must be regarded by those that now deny that obligation, 
and we will represent to ourselves the feelings with which Gentile Christians 
of the II. Century would approach the statement of verse 9. As in the modern, 
so in the ancient mind, the assumption would be that the prima Jade meaning 
of the words could not be that which was intended. Comp. de Pressense, Trois 
Premieres Sciede, II., chap. vi. § 1. The ov oa(ijiaTLC,oiiev of Justin {Dial. com,. 
Tryphone, c. x.). may be taken as representing the fixed attitude of their mind 
that determined their interpretation of the scriptures ; as: Hoc est corpus mfum, 
chalked on the table in the castle of Marburg, determined Luther's. Conse- 
quently, they would look for another sense, to which the allegorizing and 
imaginative exegesis of that period would easily accommodate itself, with a 
haughty disregard of any correction that might be offered from Jewish Chris- 
tian quarters. The traditional interpretation, we may suppose, was the conse- 
quence. (Comp. Tertul. adv. Judeos, c. 2 ; Epiphan. adver. haeres, Lib. Tom., 
II. c. 32.) 

Those that maintain the obligation of the Fourth Commandment according 
to the " Westminster Confession of Faith," will observe, that the rendering 
now given of vers. 9, 10, brings into the problem no element that wa.s not 
there before, except a proof text, that more directly than any other in the 
New Testament, affirms the doctrine there taught. 


There the Author, having set forth Christ's offering for sin once 
for all, says : "There remains {d-oleir.ETat) no more a sacrifice for 
sin." When the reality is come, there is no more use for the 
shadow. Here, on the contrary, he represents, that because the 
real rest has never been attained, the shadow does remain. Thus 
the Author appeals to the great and significant and still-existing 
institution of the Sabbath day. As a shadow it was evidence 
that the substance had not yet come. Yet as a shadow, with 
deep significance from its connection with God's resting the 
seventh day, it looks forward to and is a representation of the 
promise of entering God's rest. The Author points to this sig- 
nificance in 

Ver. 10. For he that entered its rest, he also rested from his 
works as God from his own. 

" For" connects this statement with the foregoing as its expla- 
nation. In TTjV xardirauatv aoTou, the avTou refers to Ga^^ari(TiJ.6<i of 
ver. 9. The aorists 6 eiffsMcuv, mrir^auat, " he that entered, 
rested," are perfectly natural when speaking of actions relating 
to an institution of ancient date, thougli continued in the present. 
It is said here from the view point of entering Canaan under 
Joshua, and still keeping the Sabbath. It is much against the 
rendering that takes r. xa-dizau. ad-oo to mean, " God's rest," that 
it is driven to various desperate shifts to explain these aorists. As 
rendered above, ver. 10 is a simple statement of the nature and 
meaning of keeping the Sabbath. The nature of it is, rest from 
our works. The meaning of this is imitation (w^TTrs/v) of God's 
resting. And in this connection, it is appealed to as an institu- 
tion that remains as long as it is true that the people of God 
have not entered into His rest. 

In vers. 1-8 the Apostle has showed that there is left a promise 
of entering God's rest, and that while the gospel is preached no 
one is too late for it. In vers. 9, 10, he has adverted to two 
supposed situations wherein it would be too late for such a 
promise, and showed that they do not exist. He has now pre- 
pared the way for an exhortation which follows. 

Ver. 11. Let us, therefore, give diligence to enter into that rest, 
in order that no one may fall in the same example of disobedience. 


Thus the Apostle applies the truth just established, and from 
this appears, that his motive in representing the doctrine has been 
chiefly to press the application of the warning example of those 
in the wilderness. 

This explains his omission to amplify the glorious truth just 
presented, and set forth its inviting aspects. He presents it in 
order to identify the present situation with the ancient one. 
Then " there was a promise of entering liis rest." " To-day " 
there is the same. Those of old were debarred by God's oath 
from entering in on account of their disobedience, (iii. 18.) 
Now, having established the likeness of the two situations, the 
Apostle warns his readers against the same fate. Thus, our 
present verse connects closely in logical relation with iii. 18, 19. 
What has been represented iv. 1-10 serves to establish that 
logical relation. 

This corroborates the interpretation we have given at iv. 1. 
The notion that the Apostle is there warning against falling 
short of the promised rest would ill-agree with the unmistakable 
warning of our present verse. This, as we shall see, points to 
the fate of divine exclusion from the rest and on the ground of 
disobedience. The Author would not, in the same passage, 
ascribe the failure to enter the rest, first, to simply falling 
short of it, and, then, to a divine exclusion effected by a divine 
judgment, and realized by a falling like that in the wilder- 

The Author says ^/.sr^rjv rijv xaraTzauirtv, that lest, viz., of vers. 
5, G a. The IxsO^rf^ points to a remoter antecedent than " the 
rest," mentioned in vcr. 10,^ to which latter, if the Author meant 
it, he would refer by rawrvjv.^ Thus, he distinguishes, as we 
have interpreted, between " the rest of keeping the Sabbath " 
(ver. 10), and "that rest that remains for persons to enter." 
(ver. 6.) The latter, he exhorts his readers to showdiligoiico in 
entering. This diligence is put in antithesis to disobedience, 
and thus it is plain that it must appear in that faith which ha*; 

' Comp. Bleek. 

^ See Buttm. Gram., p. 104, and his article on ekeIvoq in the Stud. u. Krit^ 
1860. Comp. Luke xviii. 14; John v. 35, 37, 38. 


already been set in the same contrast (comp. vers. 2 and 3). 
The haste ^ that is implied in diligence, must be in hastening to 
believe and obey " the heavenly calling " (iii. 1). Let us give 
diligence, he says, and we may interpret the first person as at ver. 1. 

As has been just before noticed, the Apostle does not incite to 
this diligence by motives of reward presented by " the rest," but 
by motives of fear of the consequences of disobedience. This is 
evidence that he treats the situation as very perilous in that direc- 
tion. Those consequences are imminent. The first concern, 
therefore, is to escape them, and he says : In order that no one 
may fall. The verb TziTZTetv in the present close logical relation 
with iii. 16-19, has its own obvious meaning, viz., n««, destruc- 
tion.^ It expresses, not that which has ruin for result, but the 
ruinous result itself. The nature of the destruction is defined by 
the expression : In the same example of disobedience. The aurui 
onodeiy/j.. obviously refers to the representation of iii. 17, 18. 
What the Apostle means is, to affirm that such falling would be 
just like that of old : an example of disobedience, which he is 
warranted in saying after having, in vers. 1-10, represented the 
identity of the situations. Calling it " an example " signifies 
that one may see in it how disobedience is punished.^ 

It is with this notion of fallino; or ruin as now the imminent 
peril, and with the notion of that fall being made an example of 
how disobedience is punished, that the representations of the 
following vers. 12, 13, connect, being conjoined by For. 

Ver. 12. For the word of God is living and energetic and 
sharper than any double-edged sword, and piercing to division of 
both joints and marrow of soul and spirit, and a judge of thoughts 
and intents of the heart. 

By the word of God is meant no impersonation, nor anything 
kindred to the distinctive representations of John i. 1-14; 1 John 
i. 1, 2.* 

The attributes here described belong to God, to whom, as the 
subject, the discourse makes transition in the following verse. 

^Vulgate incorrectly translates : festinemus ; yet preserves the true notion 
by the (also incorrect) rendering: incredulitatis exemplum. 

2 So Chrys., Calvin, Bleek, de Wette. ^ go ^^^ Hof. * Alford. 

iv. 12.] THE LIVING WORD OF GOD. 135 

By a natural mode of speech these attributes are here a.scribed to 
the word of God, because God is represented by that word, and 
He attends that word, j^iving it living and active potency. What 
is said here is general, in the sense that it may be said of any 
portion of the word of God that " is preached of Jesus Christ 
unto obedience of faith." ^ But here it is said in particular of 
that word that the Apostle has said is and was preached (ver. 2), 
and which he calls : " the word of proclamation" (ibid). It is 
the word of his Psalm (xcv.) text to which he has particular 
reference, and which he has introduced by : " as saith the Holy 
Spirit " (iii. 7). It is to that word, as it represents what was 
proclaimed to those in the wilderness and is proclaimed 
still, and in hearing which we hear the voice of God, that he 
calls further attention. He has made it the text for a warning 
against hardness of heart and perfidy. He has used it to show 
that God's voice still offers an entrance into his rest. He uses it 
once more, reminding his readers of the tremendous validity of 
that word, by saying of it what is true of God's word wherever 
it demands obedience, ^ but peculiarily true of this word of Ps. 
xcv., because of the example seen in the fate of those who dis- 
obeyed in the wilderness. 

^^^bat he proceeds to say of the word of God is supposed by 
many to represent its penetrating and discriminating power, and 
thus, that nothing can escape the knowledge of God. Accord- 
ingly, the words soul and spirit and the division of them, and of 
the joint and marrow, and the thoughts and intents of the heart, 
are all weighed as if the Author wrote as a philosopher. And 
thus, also, this passage is a])pealed to in psychological debates, c. g., 
by the advocates of a trichotomy. 

But it is repugnant to a just sentiment that such philosophical 
notions should be introduced into a context like the present. 
Moreover, it does not appear what forceful logical relation such 
a representation could have with what precedes. In verse 116, 
Nvhether we interpret it as above, or understand ' it to mean 
falling into and remaining in what would be an example of dis- 

' Eom. xvi. 25, 26. "^ Comp. Rom. ii. 8, 9. 

' With von Ilof. and manv others. 


obedience, the situation it denotes is already one of manifest dis- 
obedience, and would not put to proof the discriminating power 
of the word that the Author is supposed to appeal to here. With 
that interpretation, vers. 12, 13 appear as an isolated eulogy of the 
word of God ; and, in effect, such is commonly the treatment of it. 
It is more natural to understand vers. 12, 13 as describing the 
executive power of the word of God. ^ This is a logical notion to 
connect by For with what precedes, as has been noticed above. 
Then the language before us, describing the living, irresistible, 
and unerring aim and power of that word of Ps. xcv., that defines 
the present crisis, shows how judgment is imminent, and why 
diligence should be used to enter the promised rest. 

Moreover, it is more natural to suppose that the Author's 
description runs in a scriptural mold, than in that learned in 
philosophic schools. We are reminded of: " Is not my word 
like as a fire ? saith the Lord ; and like a hammer that breaketh 
the rock in pieces ? " ^ The type of the Author's rhetoric is 
contained in that and similar passages. But still more we are 
reminded of language in Moses' farewell address, that is so sig- 
nificant of the history of the people of God down to the remotest 
future : " For I lift up my hand to heaven, and I say, I live 
forever " {Zm iyu) el<i tov alwva), " If I whet my glittering sword 
(ttjv pA^acpdv /jlou), and mine hand take hold in judgment ; I will 
render vengeance to my enemies, and will reward them that hate 
me." Dent, xxxii. 40, 41. In Biblical rhetoric the sword 
expresses retributive judgment. We must retain that meaning in 
the present passage ; and the more so as it fits the context. The 
presentation of notions in couples : " soul and spirit," "joints and 
marrow," " thoughts and intents," shows that the expressions are 
not determined by any philosophy relating to such things. They 
are due to rhetoric, and the Author, by such double expressions, 
means to cover the notion of the whole spiritual being of man,' 
with all its motives and affections. The anthropological under- 
lying notions involved in the use of the terms are popular, and 
consequently unscientific. They do not, therefore, justify the 
nice analysis to which some interpreters subject them. 

* So Chrys., Bleek. ^ Jer. xxiii. 29. ' Comp. Davidson. 


The representations of our vcr. 1 2 bear on the affirmation that 
the falling that is imminent would be an " example of disobe- 
dience" identical with that of old. It points to the thoughts and 
intents of the heart as that over which God by His word sits as 
judge (xfnrcx6^—"}udge," as one is a judge, or critic of the 
quality of, e. g., poets). In this is involved the notion of award. 
In the present situation, it is in the domain of the heart with its 
thoughts and intents, that "disobedience" appears, and not in 
overt acts as in the wilderness. But God's word is judge in that 
province. As such. His punitive sword falls irresistibly and 
unerringly where there is disobedience. The joints and marrow 
must be taken in a spiritual sense, as the joints and marrow of 
the soul and spirit.^ And taking it so, we may, with von Hof- 
mann, render 4'^x^i'^ ^* '^veu/xaro^ dp/iajv rs xai iiuzXiLv. "both joints and 
marrow of the soul and spirit." ^ Not separation of body and 
soul, or of soul and spirit is meant, for /ispc<Tfi6i^ does not signify 
separation, but division that sunders the whole into parts, and, so 
to speak, dismembers soul and spirit. The Author, in pointing 
to the ancient counterpart of this example of disobedience, 
mentions how : " their carcasses " (xw/a, properly " limbs " or 
"members") "fell in the wilderness" (iii. 17). 

Yer. 1 3. And there is not a creature unseen before him, but 
all things are naked and exposed at the throat to the eyes of him 
with whom we have to do. 

The Author by duzou (bis), which refers to God, expressly 
intimates that it is not the word, but God, to whom he ascribes 
the personal attributes in what he represents concerning the 
word of God. 

If our verse 13 were part of a representation of the omnis- 

^ So Alford, von Hof., Liin. 

* von Hof. supports this by appecil to ^anrcaiiuv 6i6axm vi. 1 ; tijv niffriv tov 
Kvpiov . . . Tf/g Jo^>f=" the faith of the glory of our Lord," Jas. ii. 1, comp. 
Huther (Meyer's Comm.) previous to edit., 1870. He also urges that the in- 
verted order of the words, putting the dependent iwx- k. ■kvevji. first, is due to 
emphasis that rests on them ; and cites 6 rpdTTog tuv TrahiiiJv r^g <pih)ao<l>iag, 
Plato Protag. 343 B., where ruv Tvalaiuv owes its position to the tone resting 
on it, (comp. Stallbaum in he). Davidson has the same rendering. Angus 
incorrectly : " Dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow." 


cient and searching power of God's word, i. e., of God, it does 
not appear how it helps out the idea of verse 12, or marks any 
progress in the thought. For that every creature is manifest 
before Him and all stripped and bared to His eyes, is inferior in ex- 
pression to the description, ver. 12, that the most hidden frame and 
structure of soul and spirit are penetrated by Him. But if vers. 
12, 13, describe the punitive energy of God's word, and so 
amplify the notion of an example of the punishment of disobe- 
dience, we have a natural progress of thought. For, verse 12 
having represented the irresistible and unerring efficacy of that 
word as a sword, our verse 13 represents every creature as mani- 
fest to the judge of the heart and every tiling ready for the blow 
of execution, as when the condemned criminal stands stripped, 
and with bared neck, ready for the blow of the sword to fall. 
In other words, verse 12 represents how annihilating the blow 
will be when it falls, while verse 13 represents that things are 
ready for the blow to fall. The figure represented by Tpayr^liX.^vj 
may not admit of precise definition.^ But all of the proposed 
explanations (whether derived from the athlete's taking his adver- 
sary by the throat to choke him ; or from the action of slaught- 
ering a beast ; or from the Roman usage of exposing the face of 
one about to suffer punishment), agree in this, that the word 
represents a situation ready for complete overthrow or the fatal 
blow. It does not seem possible for such a word to do service 
in any way as descriptive of how ever}i:liing is open and mani- 
fest to God as a judge. And no wonder that commentators find 
it difficult of explanation ^vith that view of our verse. Alford 
translates it, " prostrate," and owns to dissatisfaction with that. 
Delitzsch, waving all archaeological illustrations as of no 
account, says : " -/ja/Tj/u^tv, which undoubtedly means, to sieze 
by the throat and throw back the head, receives here its second- 
ary meaning from the context, and yet also without entire loss 
of the image, as e.g.j by taking Tzzpayrihaiiha as simply equiva- 
lent to T.zipavzpuiiiha (Hesych., Phavor., Peshito), aperta (all the 
Latins), ' uncovered ' (Luther). The meaning seems to be, that 
whatever shamefaced creature bows its head, and would fain 
^ See in Alford the exegetical history. 

iv. 13.] Tpayrr^U'^.zv^. 139 

withdraw and cloak itself from the eyes of God, has indeed the 
throat, as it were, bent back before the eyes, and so remains with 
no possibility of escape, exposed and naked to their view." In 
this Delitzsch tacitly adopts the explanation drawn from the 
Roman custom of exposing criminals, which just before he has 
rejected as having " no support from Greek literature." As he 
remands us to the context for the sense in which the ^vord is to 
be taken, we find that the context leads up to the very image 
indicated in the Roman custom. Its finding no support in any 
citation of rpayr^ll%ei'j in Greek literature is not fatal to this 
explanation. It was a usage known to those that spoke Greek, 
and of which they must speak, and this would be the word with 
which to name it. We may be sure that aa[-i^ariaij.6h was a word 
of common use long before our Author wrote ; yet we have seen 
that it first appears in this epistle, and then in Plutarch. We 
may then adopt that Roman custom as explaining the figurative 
use of the word in our text.^ But the figure is exact, and means 
of the things {t.wjto) referred to, that they are in that situation 
that yopyd ■/.. TpayrjXi(7iLiva describe when applied to condemned 
persons, viz., they are ready for execution. 

The Author employs universal terms (zrfVts-, r,dv-a), as in ver. 
12 he refers to human spiritual nature in the abstract, because 
under the universal the particular is inevitably comprehended. He 
employs the neuter {tzwjto) because, as the previous discourse 
shows, it is abstract notions that he has in mind and not persons. 
Under all things we must comprehend particularly " an evil heart 
of perfidy, hardening the heart, hearing the word without faith, 
tempting God, disobedience." The word of God as a sword of 
vengeance falls on such things with unerring and irresistible 
power, that misses nothing. Wherever they are, they are now 
exposed for execution. 

The view of vers. 11-13, now presented, is in harmony with 
the warning already given ii. 1-4. There the motives for heed- 
ing the revelation spoken by the Son, are drawn from the peril 
of a situation of condemnation for past transgressions of the word 

^ The followinj? are cited as adopting it : Eisner, Wolf, Baumgarten, Kuiuoel, 
Bretschnelder, Bleek, de Wette. 

140 RESUME OF II. 1 IV. 13. [iv. 14. 

spoken by angels, and the need of escape from impending pun- 
ishment. In view of that situation, the mission of Jesus is 
called a salvation. Following that (ii. 17, 18), the grace and 
efficacy of Christ is represented in that, as a merciful and faith- 
ful High Priest in things pertaining to God, He makes expiation 
for the sins of the people. Here the exhortation is to those that 
are assumed to have accepted Christ as the Apostle of their pro- 
fession, and the leader of their heavenly calling. Accordingly, 
the motives for diligence in seeking to enter into the rest to 
which He leads, are drawn from the peril that attends apostasy. 
This also is represented as a situation of impending wrath. And 
following this again, the Apostle renewedly directs attention to 
Jesus as a High Priest, with express mention of His being able 
to symjiathize with infirmities ; and we may suppose that while 
this is stated universally, there is also a particular reference to 
such infirmities of faith, tending to disobedience, as have been the 
subject of warning, iii. 7-iv. 13. With such reference the 
Apostle adopts an inviting and encouraging tone, and exhorts to 
come to "the throne of grace, to receive mercy and find grace 
for timely help " (ver. 1 6). The significance of the expression 
timely help, is to be found in the present time of writing, which, 
as the Apostle has showed, is described by the Psalmist : " To-day, 
if ye will hear his voice harden not your hearts." Those that expe- 
rience the hardship and temptation of such a time, and have even 
showed its sins of unbelief, and are exposed to the executive 
energy of the word that has just been represented, may come by 
Christ to the throne of grace and find mercy. 

The Apostle now begins to treat the second part of what he 
has called the contents of the Christian confession,^ viz., Clirist 
our High Priest. The discourse on this topic extends to x. 18. 

Ver. 14. Having then a great High Priest that has passed 
through heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast the con- 

It is not the Author's point to affirm the things that are here 
predicated of Jesus. In the present verse, and in the foregoing 
context ^ where the same things ar® mentioned of Christ, they are 

^iu. 1. M. l-3;m. 1. 


not presented as matters that need proof, or even affirmation. 
By designating them at iii. 1 aud here as the contents of the 
Christian confession, the Author treats them as the common 
belief of himself and his readers. Such being the case, the con- 
junctive then cannot be referred^ to ii. 17; iii. 1, or to the whole 
context, i. 1-iii. 6, as resumptive of what has been there affirmed, 
viz., " the elevation and grandeur of the person of Jesus in gen- 
eral." As between the Author and his readers, these things have 
not been subjects of affirmation; though to us, who would learn 
what the Apostle believed, they are to be treated as affirmations 
of doctrine. Nothing having been affirmed on these subjects as 
premise, the "then" cannot introduce a logical inference about 
them, nor logically resume their affirmation.^ The sentiments 
of vers. 11-13, as ascertained above, furnish an appropriate 
premise for the exhortation : let us hold fast the confession, and on 
the other hand the logical reference of om = then, must, as usual, 
be to something immediately foregoing, unless sense forbids it. 
The executive energy of the word of God, particularly that word : 
" To-day, if ye will hear his voice," etc., and the imminent 
fate impending over those whose characteristic was " transgres- 
sion and disobedience," ii. 2, made such mediation as that of a 
high priest the very refuge the people of God needed. That 
situation has just been appealed to in support of the exhortation : 
"Let us give diligence to enter into that rest," ver. 11. It is 
here used further, by the logical force of then, to press the need 
of trusting to the only means of entering into that rest, viz., tlie 
mediation of a high priest, i. e., to Jesus.^ The confession, is 
here, as at iii. 1, that of which Jesus is the contents, and 
expressly in respect to what is mentioned, viz., that He is a great 
High Priest, that has traversed heaven, and is the Son of God. 
This confession is to be held fast, which means holding to the cer- 
tainty of the truth concerned, and holding to it with a view to 
getting the blessing involved in it.* 

The Apostle calls Jesus a great High Priest ; and mentioning 
in addition that He is the Son of God, and exalted to heaven, 

1 As by Lun. * So von Hof. » Comp. x. 19. 

* See ver. 16; comp. vi. 18. 


justifies his calling Him great. This greatness is presented as 
the reason for that trust in Him expressed by holding fast the 

But greatness is not the only quality in a high priest that sin- 
ners look for. The greatness peculiar to the Son of God might 
discourage transgressors, just because such a person might have 
no experience of the temptations that lead to transgression, and 
consequently no sympathy with the weakness of such. It is 
specially the Author's aim to represent Christ's qualification to 
be High Priest in this particular, and not on the ground of His 
greatness. This particular about our High Priest he hcts 
affirmed before (ii. 17) and would now establish. Therefore, he 
proceeds : 

Ver. 15. For we have not an High Priest unable to sympa- 
thize with our infirmities, but one that has been in every respect 
tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 

Having affirmed this, and added an appropriate invitation, 
ver. 16, the Author proceeds to amplify, v. 1 sqq., the truth so 

That Christ Avas tempted has been affirmed already, and also 
that He was made like His brethren in every respect, and that 
this qualified Him to be a merciful and faithful High Priest in 
things 'pertaining to God (ii. 17, 18). Here it is affirmed that 
His likeness to His brethren extends to His being tempted in 
every respect like them, and that with reference to inspiring them 
to trust in Him, as one qualified to sympathize with them. The 
added expression : without sin, limits the notion of likeness. Sin 
formed no part of it. Not merely that He sinned not, though 
tempted, is meant; but that the temptation was wholly unat- 
tended by sin in Him. " Not only did the temptation produce 
no sin in Him, but it attached to no sin in Him,^ 

Ver. 16. let us, then, approach with boldness to the throne 
of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace for timely help. 

This invitation is founded on the representation of verse 15, 
to which the olv = " then " refers. The invitation is to trans- 
gressors ; the readers with the Apostle having been represented 

^ von Hof. 


in this light (ii. 1-3 a). The approach is to God, whose word 
they have transgressed. His presence, or where He is, is 
expressed by the throne of grace, as viii. 1, iu connection with 
another sentiment, it is called " the throne of majesty." When 
He that occupies it receives transgressors, it is a tliroue of grace. 
What transgressors may obtain there, and wliat they approacli 
to obtain is mercy. At ii. 2, 3 a, the Apostle has signified 
that what transgressors must seek is escape from the conse- 
quences of trangression, and that what Christ brings is salvation. 
The present invitation is to approach and obtain the mercy that 
will be escape, and find the grace that will be salvation. Mercy 
and grace are thus, not to be understood as expressing the same 
thing,^ but distinct notions. Having obtained mercy they will 
find, in addition, grace. Or (to use the language of Jer. xxxi. 31 
sqq., that the Author quotes further on, viii. 8 sqq., in repre- 
senting the same truth), when their transgressions arc blotted out, 
they will find themselves the gracious subjects of a new cove- 
nant. The Author says : to find grace for timely help. In this 
expression the reference is not to every time of temptation, and 
the timeliness of the help is not that at all such times we shall 
be helped before temptation masters us.^ At iii. 13, the Author 
has presented the thought of a time and need that are pressing, 
and he has continued to urge the duty of heeding them as the 
time of grace. At iv. 1 sqq., he shows that his readers are not 
too late for it, while he shows, too, that unbelief and disobedi- 
ence may make them too late. The timely help, then, is help 
" while it is called to-day," while there is yet time, and when it 
is not too late.^ In accordance, then, with all that he has been 
urging, and will further urge, he now invites his readers to come 
and find the grace that will be timely help. When the Author 
says come with boldness, he does not mean the boldness that is 
sure of one's self, but the boldness that one feels when sure that 
he comes for something that is there to be had and that he may 
obtain. Thus it appears that by approaching the throne of grace 
is not meant the habitual approach to God that the Christian 

' Against Liin. * As von Hof., Del., Kiehm, etc. 

' So Bleek, de Wette, I.un. 

144 EVERY HIGH PRIEST [v. 1-4. 

must make in prayer/ but that, approach described in Jer. xxxi., 
that is explained in chap, viii., whereby the people of God are 
received into new covenant relations and forsake the old that 
passes away. The full expression of this approach is found at 
xii. 22—24. It is the meaning intended when the same word 
{Tzpoaipx^fff^at) is used, vii. 25 ; x. 22. At xii. 22, the Author, 
using the same word, says : '' ye have come," which expresses 
the fact involved in believing on Christ. This fact or truth 
might not be apprehended by one that believed on Christ. It 
was not by those whom the Apostle addresses. Such, then, 
though confessing Christ, may be exhorted to approach the 
throne of grace wdth boldness to obtain mercy and find grace. 
Then the invitation is, to apprehend the true and full import of 
Christ and His revelation, and of their having believed on Him, 
and to seize the blessing He brings. 

V. 1-4. For every high priest, being taken from among men, is 
appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer 
both gifts and sacrifices for sins; 2. being able to bear gently 
with the ignorant and erring, since he himself is compassed with 
infirmity ; 3. and on account of it he must, as for the people, so also 
for himself offer for sins. 4. And no one take s this honor to himself, 
but when he is called by God, even as Aaron was. 

Many have supposed that here the Author takes up a new 
thought quite distinct from the foregoing context. This occa- 
sioned the present division into a distinct chapter, and influ- 
enced the rendering of the English version of 1611, w^hich is 
corrected in the version of 1881. According to this supposition, 
the Author proposes to contraM the high-priestly character of 
Christ with that of human high priests. Hence the rendering : 
" Every high priest taken from among men." This leads to 
taking our vers. 1—4 as preliminary statements marking the 
points to be contrasted. 

But the For of ver. 1 establishes a logical relation between the 
present statements and the preceding context. It is debated 
whether the For connects with iv. 16, or iv. 15, that is, whether 
what is now said is meant to give a reason for the exhortation to 

^ Against Lindsay. 


approach unto God, or to give proof that we have in Jcsiis a 
sympathizing High Priest ? But tlie debate seems needless. The 
reference may comprehend both. The exhortation to approach 
is founded on the representation that Jesus is a sympathizing 
High Priest, and this latter fact, with its conjoined consccjuence, 
expressed in the exhortation, makes but one subject, in illustra- 
tion of which the Author now offers additional matter. 

His purpose is to justify what he has affirmed of our High 
Priest, and the encouragement to approach the throne of grace, 
and this he does by pointing to what is true of " every high 
priest." It is not contrast, but comparison and likeness, that 
the Author points to. The every (nd'i) is emphatic. The thing in 
question is true of every high priest, consequently it is true of 
Christ, and ipso facto it is affirmed of Him when He Ls 
called High Priest. As to the specific high priest concerned, it 
is obvious that, between the Author and his readers, no other 
could be thought of than the Levitical priesthood and the 
Aaronic high-priesthood. Were the matters now to be affirmed 
of high priests applicable to every high-priesthood, i. e., to priest- 
hood whether Jewish or not, the circumstances of the present 
writing would demand a distinct expression of this notion. 

First among the characteristics of every high priest important 
to the present comparison is, that he is taken from among- men. 
For the participial clause i^ mHf). Xaix^m. is predicative, and not 
appositional with apyy-p} The expression of this in parti- 
cipial form, while the following predicates are affirmed directly, 
may be ascribed to the fact that the Author has already repre- 
sented the notion of Christ's likeness to those for whom He min- 
isters as High Priest,^ and that thus, like every high priest. He 
was taken from among men. Thus, he does not purpose to 
trace this likeness in the present text. But resuming the 
expressed notion by a participial clause, he proceeds to mention 
other characteristics that show how a high priest, as such, must 
sympathize with human infirmity while discharging his ministry. 
He is appointed for men in things pertaining to God. Appointed 
for men is the emphatic part of what is here affirmed. The high 

* See Alford, Del., Davidson. * Comp. ii. 11-18; iv. 15. 



priest, though taken from among men and set apart to deal with 
matters pertaining to God, is not, by that, removed from men 
and their concerns. His appointment is for men ; his business 
with God must be about them. If he forgets them, he misses 
the aim and business of his office. When before God in the 
functions of his office, he is there for men, for whose sake he was 
appointed. His chief business, as so appointed, is that he may 
offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. By TrpixTt/'iprj-oSeT, is 
meant, not the slaying and offering on the altar, but the presenta- 
tion after this is done.^ What determines the meaning is not 
only the use of the word, but that, throughout the epistle, the 
correspondence between typical and anti-typical high priest 
relates to the tabernacle, and hence the mention of gifts with 
sacrifices. The re xat = both, and, forbids our regarding gifts and 
sacrifices as one notion only emphasized by a double expression. 
The plurals are here used with reference to the repeated annual 
occasions when, as on the great day of atonement (Lev. xvi), the 
high priest offered, according to our Author, a gift and a sacri- 
fice. That the great day of atonement is referred to is obvious 
from ver. 3. There is nothing to intimate that the Author refers 
to anything but what the high priest did himself in the discharge 
of his own peculiar functions on the great day of atonement. 
But Lev. xvi. 3-15 mentions only a bullock and a ram that the 
high priest sacrifices for himself, and a goat as the only sacrifice 
for the people, while it mentions nothing that it calls a gift. 
Nor is there mention made of a gift, i. e., an unbloody offering, 
in any part of the ceremonies of the day. The difficulty thus 
presented has received various explanations ; e. g., that dwpa is 
the general term for all sorts of unbloody sacrifices, and i^/otria 
the particular bloody sacrifice ; ^ or that both words are meant to 
refer to bloody offerings, a meaning that Sd>pa often has when used 
alone. Neither of these explanations is admissible in the present 
case, because the two words are expressly distinguished. As it is 
obvious that the Author refers to what was plain as a matter of 
record in Lev. xvi., we see by reference to the record that nothing 
beside the sacrifice of the bullock and the goat, with sprinkling the 
^ See below in vii. 27. " So, e. g., Del. 


blood and the offering of incense, attended the higli priest's offer- 
ing for himself and his intercession for tlie sins of the peo^jle 
(Lev. xvi. 11—15). For the burning of incense must have 
attended the bringing of the blood of the goat within the vail, as 
well as the previous bringing there of the blood of the bullock ; 
the cloud of incense would need to cover the mercy seat in the 
one case as much as in the other. The annual offering of 
incense, then, the Author calls gifts/ and by sacrifices he means 
the annual offerings of bullocks and goats. The high priest's 
chief business was to offer the appointed gifts and sacrifices for 
sins. Thus, not only was he there on duty for men, whom he 
could not forget while he did not forget his duty, but he was 
there in reference to their sins and nothing else. 

To this the author adds : being able to bear gently with the igno- 
rant and erring, ver. 2. Brought in, as this idea is, by a parti- 
cipial clause, it describes the frame of mind with which the high 
priest must make his offering, and combines this along with 
the sacrificial service as comprehended in his appointment 
{xai^iararat) ; being taken from among men he is appointed that 
he may offer, being able to bear with sinners. By the ignorant 
and erring is not intended an exceptive designation, as though 
the high priest's offering and his bearing gently related only 
to sinners that were to be described in these mild terms, while 
sinners with a high hand were excluded.^ With our Author, 
erring {T:Xwm<7f}aiY is not an expression for mild sinning; and 
when he combines ignorance {ayvotiv) * with it, we cannot sup- 
pose he means by it sin in a mild form. Our expresssion covers 
all sin that the people commit, and with which they come for 
atonement, and for which the high priest offers atonement. It 
names these, or rather the sinners, in the most general terms, as 
the high priest must think of them comprehensively while aton- 
ing for them. So must the one sacrificing bear gently with those 

* So von Ilof. : in support of which he appeals to Num. xvi. 15, 17, where, 
referring to the incense about to be presented by Korah and his company, 
Moses says: "Respect not thou their (nnjO) offering." 

^Against Blcck, Del., Davidson, Moulton. ' Comp. iii. 10. 

* Comp. Rom. x. 3. 


sinning ; not as indifferent whether they have sinned or not, but 
as not incensed at them because they have sinned. The high 
priest's compassion for sinners is owing to his being taken 
from among men, which means he is a sinner like themselves. 
This idea the Author goes on to express : since lie also is com- 
passed with infirmity. The weakness is such as renders him 
unable to keep from sinning. The present expression is for the 
purpose of introducing that which follows : and on account of it, 
viz., the weakness, he must, as for the people, so also for himself, 
offer for sins. The must refers, not to an inward impulse, or a 
necessity in the nature of things/ but to the requirement of the 
divine institution by which the high priest was appointed.^ 
The appointed, ver. 1, and the statement of ver. 4, show that the 
Author attaches importance to the notion that the high priest is 
by divine appointment all this that is affirmed of him. It 
could be little matter that he was so qualified, if these things 
were not what God required in a high priest. The matter just 
expressed preceded the offering for the people. The high priest 
first offered for himself and his house before offering for the peo- 
ple. This not only fitted him ceremonially to be a mediator for 
the people as holy and proper to appear for them before a holy 
God, but it fitted him with respect to the people themselves. 
Fresh from the confession of his own sin, and holy only by 
virtue of ceremonial absolution, he would sympathize with the 
sins of those whose high priest he was. 

The Author adds another characteristic of " every high priest." 
And no one takes the honour unto himself, but [he takes it] being 
called by God, even as Aaron, (ver. 4). It is not a new subject 
that is here introduced, but only a second trait of high priestly 
qualification. And what is thus affirmed is also connected with 
the "for," ver. 1, and by that related to iv. 15, 16. It presents 
an essential ground of confidence in coming to God by the media- 
tion of a high priest. Not only the office and kind of man are 
divinely appointed, but the person himself is called of God. 
Only one can be high priest. Only God can name him. There 
will, then, be certainty about him, and consequently confidence 

• Against Del., Alford. " So von Hof. 


in approaching God by him. The example of this is Aaron.' 
The manner of Aaron's calling and institution as high priest 
settled, at the original institution of the office, that only those could 
fill it whom God designated. By confining it, then, to Aaron's 
posterity,^ those that in that order took the office, did it as clearly 
by the call of God as Aaron. By appealing to Aaron as the ex- 
ample of the calling and appointing of a high priest, the Author 
appeals to the office as originally instituted, and therefore in its 
pure and simple form. This shows, that when he speaks of "every 
High Priest " (ver. 1), he means only those that were properly such 
according to the original meaning of the institution. Such a ref- 
erence precludes of itself any consideration of suggestions arising 
from later history of the high-priesthood, and especially as it 
was in the Author's day, when high priests were appointed by 
temporal powers in a fashion that had little to do with a call of 
God. The Author, at a later point, in a similar manner, appeals 
to the Tabernacle, and its services as originally instituted, and not 
at all to the Temple, either as it then was or ever had been. We 
may assume that this is intentional, and the nearest reason for it 
is that his appeal is actually to the scripture, the authoritative 
records, and so he refers to the facts as represented there.^ 

In the next following verses (5—8), the Author returns from 
the general to the particular, i. e., from what is true of every 
High Priest to pointing the correspondence in Christ himself. 
This he does in an inverted order. * First, in vers. 5, 6 he points 
out the resemblance to what is mentioned in ver. 4. Second, in 
vers. 7, 8 he points out the correspondence in Christ in respect to 

' Comp. Ex. xxviii. ; Lev. viii. ^ Exod. xxLx. 29, 30. 

' It may be taken as one of many proofs of the omrtiscient superintendence 
of the Holy Spirit in the composition of the scriptures, that tliese appeals to the 
original Pentatcuchal representations of things, now affords a most efiective 
bulwark against the modern attacks of criticism on the genuineness of the Pen- 
tateuch. It has not heretofore seemed plain wliy the Author should refer to 
the Tabernacle and not to the Temple, and many even suppose he means the 
Temple. Now, however, much is plain why the composition of our epistle at 
this point is as it is. 

* So Hammond, Del. ; on the contrary Liin., and Davidson, who treat it with 


the statements of vers. 1-3. This is not done, however, in a 
precise and formal way, but rather the second resemblance is 
expressed indirectly in a relative sentence, vers. 7-10, which 
connects with the statement of vers. 5, 6, and represents how the 
Saviour became that which, not he himself, but, God glorified 
him to become.^ 

Yer. 5, 6. So Christ also glorified not himself to be made 
High Priest, but he that spake unto him : Thou art my Son, this 
day have I begotten thee ; 6 as also in another place he says : Thou 
art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. 

Precisely {^af^wamp — oSrw?) as Aaron, in that respect stated 
ver. 5, Christ became High Priest. At iv. 14, the Author names 
him Jesus ; here, in resuming the mention of him, he calls him 
the Christ {6 Xpiar6<;^ We may suppose this is done intention- 
ally, as befitting this mention in connection with Aaron. ^ When 
Aaron was made High Priest he was anointed with oil, and 
thence received the designation " the anointed priest," (in LXX. 
6 Ispshi? ^ptffrd^).^ 

Instead of saying simply : Christ took not this honor unto 
himself, it is said : glorified not himself. Thus what is called an 
honor {rt/jLTj) in one case, is in this other called glory (do^rj). To 
the Author, every thing relating to Christ, what he is and what 
believers enjoy through him, is glorious,^ especially in comparison 
with others. ^ Instead of saying simply : Christ was called of God 
to take the glory of becoming High Priest, the Author expresses 
the thought in an unique way much richer in meaning. The 
parallel in ver. 5 constrains us to understand that the chief thing 
affirmed is, that Christ was called of God to be High Priest. 
Hence we must take the expressions : he that spake unto him, 
etc., as a circumlocution for God (J '9£«?). ^ It is the Author's 
style to use such circumlocutions, ^ and we have another for God 
in ver. 7. But such circumlocutions are pregnant expressions, a 

» So von Hof. ^ Comp. Moulton. ^ j^^y jy 3^ 5^ jg. 

* Comp. i. 3 ; ii. 7, 9, 10 ; xiii. 21. 

^ Comp. iii. 3, and also 2 Cor. iii. 8-11. 

® Comp. Ebrard, who cites Theophylact, Erasmus, Carpzov, Bengel, Bleek. 

' Comp. ii. 11, 14 ; x. 23, 30; xii. 3. 

V. 5, 6.] BY GOD HIS FATHER. 151 

species of breviloquence, introducing notions important to the 
context. Thus the Author says : Christ was glorified to be High 
Priest by him that spake unto him : Thou art my Son, this day 
have I begotten thee, using language of Ps. ii. 7. The time and 
manner of this speaking referred to must be that of the scripture 
passage itself, as is evident from the manner of introducing the 
next quotation from Ps. ex. In another place, signifies that both 
expressions are what is spoken of Christ in the scripture. It is 
common to suppose that the Author cites Ps. ii. 7 as proof that 
God called Clirist to be High Priest. But this is attended with 
insuperable perplexities that are only obviated by suspicious 
ingenuity, ^ such as we have observed in reference to the scripture 
language used ii. 5-13. The language of Ps. ii. 7 prophetically 
called Christ God's Son. That of Ps. ex. 4, also prophetically 
called him Priest, that is, not High Priest, but Melchizedek 
Priest, a significant title that needs interpretation, and which the 
Apostle will proceed to interpret later on. 

AVhat the Author means to signify by pairing these two peri- 
phrases for God is, that God who called Christ so, stood in the 
relation of Father to Him. The quoted language is in neither 
case adduced as proof of the fact. His readers needed no such 
proof of these facts from the Author. Both facts, viz., that 
Christ is the Son and that he is High Priest, have been stated 
(not affirmed) before as the actual and common confession of the 
Author and his readers. But in that dramatic way the Author 
has used before, ^ he affirms in appropriate scripture language, 
that records the two things mentioned, that it was the Father, 
who called Christ his Son, and also called him Melchizedek 
Priest, that glorified him to be High Priest. His method is 
obviously more impressive than the simple didactic statement 
would be. Moreover, the notions thus introduced, do not end 
here, but are introduced with the ulterior purpose that appears 
in vers. 7-10, where vers. 7, 8, have relation to the expression, 
Who spake unto him, Thou art my Son, and ver. 9, 10, are related 
to the expression : Thou art a priest forever after the order of 

' Comp. Lindsay. ' Comp. at i. 5-13; ii. 12, 13. 


The Apostle now adds a comprehensive representation concern- 
ing Christ, expressed in an extended relative sentence, closely 
connected with the foregoing by 09 = who. This sentence con- 
sists of two parts connected by and. At the head of the first, 
stands : In the days of his flesh ; at the head of the second : 
having been perfected. These two expressions designate two 
conditions of Christ, and of them the Apostle remarks particulars 
concerning his High Priesthood. The first is as follows : 

Ver. 7. Who in the days of his flesh, having off'ered both 
prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him 
that was able to save him from death, and having been heard from 
the [his] dread, 8. although he was a son, he learned obedience by 
the things which he suffered. 

The who of ver 7, " refers not simply to ' Christ ' ver. 5, but 
the relative sentence must be construed in its connection with 
* did not glorify Himself to become High Priest,' in which con- 
nection it can only mean to amplify how the Saviour became 
that which, not Himself, but God glorified him to become." * 
In the days of his flesh, designates the period when Christ lived 
in the nature common to mankind. In that period occurred 
both what is principally affirmed, viz., he learned obedience by 
the things he suffered, and also what is stated in participial form 
as occurring precedent to that. " The preceding aorist participles 
express something that must be conceived as temporally ante- 
cedent to what the direct verb expresses. Moreover, the parti- 
cipial clause consists of two parts, the first stating that Christ 
prayed, and the second that His prayer was heard. The Apostle 
designates the praying as a TrpofTfipzr^= offering, viz., of prayers 
and supplication. When it is considered that he has just been 
speaking, in vers. 1-3, of the two-fold offering (-potrf^psfJ) of 
the high priest, it is natural enough to explain the present 
choice of expression for Christ's praying by that ; and no expen- 
diture of exclamation points ^ can avail against the fact, that this 
designation for prayer has its parallel in this New Testament 
writing, xiii. 15, in: 'let us offer up (dva^ipetv) a sacrifice of 

^ von Hof. ' This against von iJofmann's critics, e. g., Liin. 


praise to God.' ^ Thus it must, after all, remain, that the 
Apostle has purposely conformed this : oifering up both prayers 
and supplications, to that : offering up both gifts and sacrifices, 
(ver. 1) ; and so the notions there and here, conjoined in each 
case by re xai- both, and, stand in both instances in similar rela- 
tions, and the one pair corresponds to the other, ^y dw/wv = 
a gift, one honors God, and by {^uata = a sacrifice, one signifies 
that He needs forgiveness for sins that condemn him. As, then, 
to a gift one joins a sacrifice, so to prayer, by which one requests 
something of God, are added supplications, because the suppliant 
is in need and danger that can only be averted by God's saving 
help. Both, not merely gifts, but also sacrifice, and not merely 
prayer, but also imploring supplication, are a deed of piety, the 
former of the sinner, the latter of the oppressed ; and each is the 
consequence of infirmity, the former of a weakness that occasions 
falling into sin, the latter of a weakness that exposes one to evil. 
Thus correspond to one another the oifering of the legal high 
priest, prescribed for him because he is subject to sinful infirmity, 
and Christ's supplicating prayer oiFered up to God because of 
infirmity of the flesh that makes evil a temptation for Him. The 
one is related to the other as the legal high priest to Christ, the 
sinful representative of his people that are to be purified, to the 
sinless Redeemer of the sinful world. The supplication of the 
latter is, of course, no atonement ; but dread of evil is infirmity, 
which only becomes Avell pleasing to God by turning to God 
in prayer." ^ 

Thus the Apostle has illustrated what he affirmed, iv. 15, vi?.. 
that our High Priest was tempted in every respect as we are 
" yet without sin," by representing His likeness to every high priest, 
and painting the portrait with sin left out. The object of this 
affirmation and illustration is to show, that in Christ mc have a 
merciful High Priest that can sympathize with our infirmities, 
(iv. 15). " As the legal High Priest was only then in condition to 
bring the offering to atone for the sins of the people, when he had 
first made the prescribed offering for himself, so Christ was only 
then in condition to endure the suffering in obedience, after the 

' against Liin. ' von I lof. 

154 GETHSEMANE. [v. 7, 8. 

prayer, by which he brought his anguish to God, was so heard 
that he was freed from the infirmity that made him pray, but 
which also made him gentle toward us men who are beset with 
sinful infirmity. And this suffering in obedience had just as 
much for Him its ground outside of his filial relation to God, as 
the sins of the people that the legal high priest needed to expiate 
were for him the sins of others." ^ Regarding the point set 
forth above, how Jesus was made gentle toward the infirmities 
of those whose sins he was to expiate, we may refer to the striking 
difference in His manner toward the disciples when he was in an 
agony of supplication, as recorded by all the Synoptists : " Why 
sleep ye ? rise and pray that ye enter not into temptation," (Luke 
xxii. 46,) and His manner afterward as recorded Matt. xxvi. 
45 ; Mark xiv. 41, when He said gently; "Sleep on now and 
take your rest." 

The event to which the Apostle refers is the transaction in 
Gethsemane. It is this alone, neither including previous expe- 
riences " in the days of His flesh," nor the suffering on the cross 
that followed. ^ The latter appears from all that we represent 
below about the meaning of "being perfected " (re-^sjto^st?), ver. 9. 
The former is excluded by the simple fact, that we have no 
account of any experience like that described happening to Christ 
before Gethsemane. It was a solitary experience, and the 
Author's exposition of it treats it as such an experience that 
could only happen in connection with His sacrifice that atoned for 
the people, as the legal high priest's appointed sacrifice for him- 
self could only be when he was to offer for the people. The 
Author's description of the event includes one item, viz., weeping, 
not elsewhere given. Epiphanius, ^ indeed, reports, that in some 
correct copies of Luke's gospel. His weeping was mentioned. But 
we need not require such authority for the Author. He could 
have the information in ways of his own ; and the fact is natural, 
and even necessary, in view of the agony as it is actually described 
by the Synoptists. Nevertheless, we may be grateful for the 
express mention, by competent authority, of this additional trait 
of the agony in the garden. 

* von Hof. » Against Del. ' Ancor, 31. 


What Jesus prayed for was, that He might be delivered from 
death. Such is the plaiu inference from the circunilocntion for 
God to whom He prayed, viz., him that was able to save him 
from death. Such a designation for God is but a terse way of 
bringing in additional notions important to the context.^ It 
expresses first, that Christ's pra}'cr was, to be saved from death ; 
and second, in connection with the event, that it was the will of 
God that He should taste death.^ For though God could save 
Him, He would not.^ And, in connection with the context 
(vers. 5, 6, 8), the prominent thought is, that this is the Father 
that did not spare the Son. That Christ's prayer was to be 
saved from death is confirmed by the common understanding of 
wdiat is meant by His prayer : " let this cup pass from me." ^ 

It is debated here whether : save from death meant, not to 
suffer death, or not to be left in the state of the dead ; in other 
words, whether Christ prayed not to die, or, to be raised from 
the dead. The direct and simple meaning of the expression : 
save from death,^ expresses only the former notion, and every- 
thing in the Author's representation accords with tliat.^ He 
would show how Christ was tempted in every respect like men. 
He has affirmed (ii. 15, 17) such to be the fact in connection with 
the crowning temptation of human life, viz., the fear of death. 
Now he represents Christ sympathizing with that infirmity by 
portraying how He shared with His brethren the same dread 
of death, as the consequence of sharing with them blood and 
flesh (ii. 14). 

A further inquiry is suggested here : what was that dread of 
death that Christ felt f To see in that dread only human shrink- 
ing from the physical suffering that attends death, and especially 
a cruel form of dying, or even to conceive of that as an import- 
ant part of the Saviour's dread, as the Apostle portrays it, and to 
compare it with the weariness and thirst that the Saviour felt 

1 Comp. on vers. 5, 6. * Comp. at ii. 9, 10. 

^ Comp. Mark xiv. 39 with Luke xxii. 42. 

* Matt. xxxi. 39 ; Mark xiv. 30 ; Luke xxii. 42. 

^Comp. Alford, Baumgarten. 

^ In favor of the other view, comp. Liin. 


like other men/ is manifestly much below the plain of the 
Apostle's discourse. These notions had nothing to do with the 
representations at ii. 9. 14-18, where the same subject is dealt 
with as it affected the experience of common men. We must 
resume here what the Apostle represented there, and what we 
there learned of his meaning. There he spoke of men as 
tempted, and of Christ becoming in every respect like them ; 
and, because it pertained to what he was there explaining, he 
specified the crowning temptation of humanity, viz., the fear of 
death. Here, having said (iv. 15) that Christ was tempted in 
every respect as we are, he portrays Him undergoing that temp- 
tation that was the life-long fear of those He came to save. His 
meaning is, that the Son was allowed to be overwhelmed by that 
dread just as other men. The same things that they dreaded 
were His dread, and His emotions then were like those of the 
pious sons of God before Him, e. g., David and Hezekiah.^ 
Having at ii. 14, 15, specified the fear of death as the special 
example of human temptation, the Author would need to express 
himself precisely to that effect, if he would not have his readers 
understand that he meant the same here. The seed of Abraham, 
on whom Christ laid hold to save them, had shuddered at death 
in the prospect of Hades, to which they were tending. Christ 
did the same, for the same prospect was before Him. " Through 
death " and Hades He was to deliver those on whom He laid 
hold as a Saviour. " Why shrank He back from death, except 
because He discovered therein the curse of God, and a conflict to 
be endured with all the powers of sin, and hell itself." ^ We 
cannot define further what that dread was. Since Christ endured 
it and was perfected (ver. 9), it ceased to be the dread of the 
people of God. Death no longer presents to them that dread 
prospect. Those that experienced it before Him were perfected 
with Him,* and for all after Him that obey Him, He became the 
cause of everlasting salvation.^ The way of the saints now is 
through Him, by the new and living way, to that which is 

^ As Lindsay, * See above on ii. 9, 14, 15. 

^ von Gerlach, quoted in Del. * x. 14. * Ver. 9. 


witliiu the vail/ to joiu the company of the spirits of tlie just 
tliathave been perfected. They have even come to them ah'eady 
in the new covenant.^ 

The second part of our (first) participial clause states that 
Christ was heard from his dread. This expresses not only that 
He was heard and answered, but also liow He was answered. In 
this interpretation we adhere to the rendering of 7/79 eoXafitia^ 
given in the version of 1611, against the version of 1881, which 
reads: "having been heard for his godly fear" = Plis piety. In 
support of this latter rendering the reader may consult Delitzsch, 
Liinemann, Alford, Farrar.^ The logical connection, especially 
as involved in the comparison between the doing of the legal 
high priest and what Christ did, leads up to the rendering we 
prefer, and that has been the most generally accepted.* Tliis 
rendering, commends itself in that the addition, from his fear, 
describes a way of answering the prayer of Christ that presents 
no conflict with the facts of the case.^ With the other render- 
ing, the simple statement that He was heard implies that what 
He asked was granted ; and yet He was not spared. With our 
rendering, the Author explains that the answer was a deliverance 
from the awful dread that overwhelmed Him, and with this the 

^x. 19. *xii. 22-24. 

^ The rendering we reject takes and in the sense of " for," " on account of." 
The New Testament citations in favor of this use are Matt, xxviii. 4 ; Luke 
xix. 3 ; xxiv. 41 ; John xxi. 6 ; Acts xii. 14. But they do not support it. 
Those that seem most to do so, liave that appearance only because the imagery 
of the idiom is overlooked. Zacchaeus could not ses Jesus aivb r. bx^ov, " from 
the crowd." But some of the Pharisees drro r. bxhiv^ "from the crowd," said 
to Him, etc., Luke xix. 3,39. When the notion: "for the crowd," "on 
account of tlie crowd," is expressed, it is by 6ia t. bx^v, Luke v. 19. Comp. 
the and Tyg rfofw Acts xxi. 11, with <^ia t. M^av, 2 Cor. iii. 7. The latter 
expresses the notion : "on account of the glory." Acts xx. 9, as an example, is 
rather evidence of the poor support the alleged usage finds. 

* "Thi.s rendering is not in the least more difficult than when, Ps. cxviii. 5 
3mQ3 'JJi' is rendered by kir^Kovai fie e'l^ nXarva/iov, which recalls Ps. xxii. 21, 
(22) 'JO'^^ C?!? 'J'^.P.? ; or Panri^ea^ai airbvEKpov (Sir. xxxi. 30) ; or pavrH^Eadai 
aTTo cirpeM/ffcog novrjpag (Ileb. x. 22) ; or (pdeipEO-d^ai aKo T/ji; anXbriiTog." Von 
Ilof. ; comp. Whitby. 

"Comp. Baumgarten. 


facts agree, ^ He was strengthened by an angel, and then went 
cabnly to die. Having before experienced a dread of approach- 
ing calamity, like that of Noah [enXafir^'^sc? xi. 7), in view of the 
flood. He afterward went to encounter death with serenity, like 
that of Enoch when he walked with God. 

Ver. 8. Though being- a Son, he learned [his] obedience by the 
things he suffered. 

In vers. 5, 6, the Author has expressed that it was He that 
called Christ " My Son," and also called Him Melch. Priest, that 
made Him High Priest. Pursuing this thought, he states here 
that, Son as He was, Christ by the way of suffering learned His 
obedience. Not sfuv'hv, but eVa-^rv ; not that he learned ^ but that 
he suffered ^ is the emphatic notion here. There is no logical 
force in saying : " although being a son He learned ol)edience." 
For whether learning or obedience be emphatic, both are what 
is to be expected of a son. It is, however, quite logical in itself, 
and consistent with the context, and with ii. 10, to represent that 
Christ, though a Son, to whom obedience was natural, was called 
to learn and show what His obedience was in this way of suffer- 
ing, so unlike what a son might look for, and so unlike what 
others might look for in a relation like His. The article joined 
to obedience (rr^v u-axarj'S) designates it as the obedience that was 
His, and calls for no previous mention of the obedience.* The 
suffering referred to was not that described in ver. 7, but that for 
which the experience of ver. 7 prepared Christ. By reference 
to ii. 10, 18, it is evident that the suffering was that by which 
He was perfected as the Captain of salvation, i. e., His dying. 
This makes it plain that the Author does not mean in ver. 7 
that Christ's prayer was granted in the form that He requested. 
Following the statement " He was heard," our ver. 8 affirms 
indirectly, that Christ was not spared death, by affirming what 
was His experience in suffering death. 

By obedience here, cannot be intended that perfection of moral 
character that consists in conformity to the moral law.® It were 
absurd to suppose that the Author could mean that Christ only 

* Luke xxii. 43. ^ Against Liin., Del. ' With von Hof. 

*So von Hof. ; comp. Kiihner, Gramm II. p. 515. ^Against Angiis. 

V. 9, 10.] AND BEING PERFECTED. 159 

learued that when He came to die ; and it is inconsistent with all 
that is represented of Him, by our Author as well as others, to 
suppose that this was a matter of learning with Him. That 
obedience was natural and necessary to Him. But to sutfer 
death was neither necessary nor natural to one that was sinless, and 
who was, moreover, God's own Son. It was necessary only as 
being the will of God " in bringing sons to glory," ^ and in 
making that Son the High Priest by whom He would bring 
them. Obedience to that purpose of God was different from all 
other obedience. It was Christ's obedience, and the obedience 
of no other. What one learns is his, and is not his without 
learning. So obedience is learned. And by suffering death, 
that obedience involved in His dying became Christ's. Our ver. 
8 is a pregnant statement. Its most obvious import, viz., that 
Christ suffered death, because obvious and understood, is not 
expressed, while other notions important to the subject are 
expressed, because they need to be expressed in order to be 
noticed. " In connection with the statement that Christ was 
glorified to be High Priest, not by Himself but by God His 
Father, we are reminded of the fact that He so learned obedience 
that to Him, who as Son might have expected something else, 
befell that which He suffered. Thereby it is noted, that it was 
not easy for Him to submit to this suffering ; He dreaded it, and 
prayed to Him that was able to save Him from death. Xeitlier 
was Plis pi'ayer unheard. Only, the hearing consisted in reliev- 
ing Him of the dread, and not in dispensing Him from the 
suffering." ^ 

Ver. 9. And being perfected, he became unto all them that 
obey him [the] cause of eternal salvation, 10. being greeted by 
God, High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. 

The Apostle has showed how God glorified Christ to be High 
Priest in that way that made Him the antitype of the legal high 
priest (vers. 1-4 and 7, 8). Now, in the second half of this 
long relative sentence that begins (ver. 7) with " who," He repre- 
sents how He is greater than tlic legal high priest, by affirming that 
He is cause of an eternal salvation, and that, corresponding to 

Mi. 10. ''von Ilof. 


this difference, His high-priesthood is after the order of MelcM- 
zedek. The condition of Christ wherein this became true is 
subsequent to that expressed by " the days of His flesh " (ver. 
7), and is expressed by being perfected (r£;.£:w.'>£}9) ; for there is 
manifestly such an antithesis in these expressions themselves, 
and also in the way in which they appear in this extended rela- 
tive sentence.^ When He was perfected Christ became what is 
now described ; by which is meant, that without that which is 
called perfected He would not be such. Here the meaning for 
perfected, established at ii. 10, becomes apparent. It expresses 
that fitness to be the cause of salvation, which was the goal of 
His earthly existence and the supreme achievement of His 
mediatorial work; just as perfected, when predicated of "them 
that are sanctified " (x. 14), describes the fitness of those that 
are saved to share the glory of Christ's exaltation, and to 
enter the vail whither He has entered a forerunner for them 
(vi. 19, 20). 

He became cause of eternal salvation. This effect of His 
high-priestly agency describes something very different from 
what the legal high priest effected, and infinitely superior ; and 
the Author develops its meaning further on.^ But for the pres- 
ent we must identify the salvation with what we have learned 
the meaning of that word to be at i. 14 ; ii. 3, 10. The subjects 
of this saving efficacy are described as them that obey him 
(Christ). The Author has just described (ver. 8) how Christ 
was obedient as a Son to the Father ; and what he now describes 
is represented as following on that obedience, and the TTfjoffayopeui^ei? 
= saluted, sets it in the light of reward. The present mention 
of the subjects of salvation as them that obey Christ expresses, 
therefore, a parallel, according to which our obedience to Christ 
corresponds to His obedience to the Father, and our salvation 
can only follow that, as His high-priestly power to be the cause 
of everlasting salvation could only follow His obedience by which 
He was perfected. This identity of relation between His obedi- 
ence and that which followed His being perfected, and our 
obedience and the salvation we receive in consequence, is con- 

' See above before ver. 7. ^ See x. 1-18. 


firmed by the Author's exchanging further on ^ the expression 
eternal salvation for " perfected forever." By the present 
expression for those that are saved, and by calHug Christ (aJ'Tto?) 
cause of salvation, the Author expressly signifies, that the salva- 
tion is not attainable apart from Christ, but that he is its Author 
and possessor.^ 

Being greeted by God High Priest after the order of Melchizedek 
continues that reference that the Author introduced at ver. 6, as 
was noticed above. The time of this greeting is not to be 
understood as that of Ps. ex. ; for being perfected expresses the 
time for what is here described ; moreover, the notion of High 
Priest is foreign to the Psalm.^ " Nor does this clause explain 
the principal sentence [i. c, how Christ became cause of salvation] ; 
for that needs no explanation.* Neither is this clause the mere 
announcement of a new theme.^ But it expresses wherewith 
that eventuated which forms the contents of the principal 
sentence. When God received Christ to Himself, He greeted 
Him as High Priest, on the ground of what He had high- 
priestly done in the days of His flesh, and more, as High Priest 
according to the measure of the position of ]\Ielchizedek, the 
royal Priest. For He bade Him sit at the right hand of His 
throne, in order to give them that believed in Him the benefit 
of high-priestly atonement in the quality of a Priest that shared 
the superterrestrial majesty of God. Thus, the fulfillment of 
the Psalm word, that represents the King of God's people as a 
Priest who is antitype of Melchizedek, is combined with the 
doing of Christ while living in the flesh that was antitypieal of 
what the legal high priest did ; and both together, that God 
made His suifering death the emergence of His earthly life, and 
that He raised Him on high to Himself, were the way by which 
He glorified Him to be High Priest, and then, moreover, to be 
Hisrh Priest after the order of Melchizedek."" 

Let us now pause to remember, that our passage v. 1-10 forms 
a connected representation that is a unit ; and that it is at ver. 1 
connected by "for" with iv. 15, 16. It is the proof and illustra- 

' X. 14. ^ Comp. Del. ^So von Hof. * Apainst Liin. 

* Against Ebrard. *von liof. 


162 RESUME OF V. 1-10. [v. 9, 10. 

tion of the truth affirmed iv. 15, that we have in Jesus a High 
Priest that can sympathize with our infirmities, and it reiterates 
the thought that He is " a great High Priest that has traversed 
heaven/' (iv. 14) by representing Him received by God with 
the salutation, high, priest after the order of Melchizedek (ver. 10). 
As the statement of iv. 15 was in order to justify the cheering 
exhortation : " Let us approach with boldness the thi'oue of 
grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace for timely help " 
(iv. 16), so, too, this extended proof and illustration is presented 
for the same end. At x. 19 sqq. the Apostle reiterates essen- 
tially the same exhortation, after giving amplified proof and 
illustration of some of the truths involved in our passage v. 1-10 ; 
and the exhortation there is given in plainer terms as it compre- 
hensively gathers up and enforces the chief results of the extended 
discussion that precedes it (vii. 1 — x. 18). The exhortation 
there and at iv. 16 is specifically applied to the "seed of Abra- 
ham " (ii. 15), who were put under the administration and 
operation of " the word spoken by angels " (ii. 2), that made 
them transgressors (ii. 2) and could not do more (x. 2, 3). For 
this Christ brings "great salvation," which is the only means of 
" escape " (ii. 3). This was provided by " the grace of God," 
who would thereby, as the only way that " became him," 
" bring many sons unto glory " (ii, 9, 10). In our passage (v. 
1-10) the Apostle has displayed this Saviour as "a merciful and 
faithful High Priest " (ii. 1 7), in whom the people of God may 
confide, and through whom they may approach with confidence 
to obtain the lielp their case requires. And what Israelite, that 
knew and believed what our passage represents, might not come 
with joyful assurance to God's throne, that is now, for him who 
obeys Christ, a throne of grace ?^ And what Gentiles (for the 
application to their case is obvious), what Gentiles, who, as Paul 
says, when speaking of such, " are a law unto themselves, in 
that they show the work of the law written in their hearts " 
(Rom. ii. 14, 15), may not come with the same joyful assurance, 
pressed as they are by the law of conscience to feel the need of 
the same salvation ? 

' Comp. von Hof. 

V. 11.] A GREAT SUBJECT. 163 

The Apostle has, in vcr. 10, expressed what, in the sequel, we 
find to be the theme that he actually develops at considerable 
leugth vii. 1 — x. 18, viz., the high-priest iiood of Christ and its 
unique character as typified by Melchizedek. It is thus evident 
that it is his present purpose to pursue this subject as he after- 
ward does. But before he thus launches out, he makes a 
digression (vii. — vi. 20), in which he administers rebuke and 
warning and exhortation Math truly apostolic authority. First, 
we have the rebuke v. 11-14; in which the Apostle reproaches 
his readers with culj)able backwardness in learning, on account 
of Avhicli he intends to impart to them very full instruction, yet 
finds it difficult to explain to them what he has to impart on the 
subject expressed in ver. 10. 

Ver. 1 1 . Concerning which we have many things to say, and 
hard of interpretation, seeing ye are become dull of hearing. 

AVe translate [-t/A <iu) of which, and not " of whom " because the 
reference cannot be to any person named in ver. 10 taken simply 
as a person, but to the whole notion of Christ as there presented. 
The determining evidence of this must, as said above, be found 
in the sequel. Only the Author himself can determine for us 
the reference of the ambiguous pronoun ou ; and only in vii. 1 — 
X. 18, do W'C find what can serve to enlighten us in this respect. 
A survey of the matter presented in that sequel shows that Ave 
must not translate : " concerning whom ; " understanding tlio 
reference to be to Christ.^ " For such an expression as this 
would hardly here be used, seeing that the whole epistle hitherto 
[as well as in all the sequel] has been concerning Him."^ Nei- 
ther can we understand the reference to be to Melchizedek.^ For, 
as a matter of fact, the Author expresses himself very briefly 
about Melchizedek. But Christ, a High Priest after the order of 
Melchizedek, i. c, Christ, a Priest of a unique order, as typified 
by Melchizedek, and Christ, a Priest in heaven, and as such a 
High Priest whose ministry is for the whole people, and " a High 
Priest forever," as the Author furtlier defines of his subject vi. 
20, this subject we find to be actually the theme of the Author's 
subsequent discourse, which, for amplitude, fully answers to liis 
1 As Lun. ^ So Alford. » As de Wette, Alfonl. 

164 DULL HEAREES. [v. 12. 

affirming that he has much to say, and, for substance, justifies his 
declaring it difficult of interpretation. To this whole subject, as 
expressed in ver. 10, does the ou of our verse refer,' and so we 
must translate : Of which. 

In affirming that what he has to say is difficult of interpretation, 
the Author means that it is hard for him ^ to find a way of rep- 
resenting it to his readers that must be at once an adequate 
representation of the truth and a clear explanation of it. He 
blames this difficulty on his readers, saying this is so : since ye 
are become dull of hearing. Saying : ye are become (yay^i'aTa) 
implies that it was once otherwise with them, and that the pre- 
sent dullness has come about by their own fault.^ It is not with 
having forgotten what they had learned that the Apostle 
reproaches them, but with having lost the aptitude to learn. 
So they have become sluggish where it was important to make 
further acquisitions than those they so readily made at first. In 
illustration of the fault with which he charges them, as it affects 
the present n^ed, an^ not as a mere : for instance, the Apostle 
proceeds : 

Ver. 12. For when, on account of the time, ye ought to be teach- 
ers, ye have need again that some one teach you the elements of 
the beginning of the oracles of God, and are become such as have 
need of milk, not of solid food. 

The scrutiny of our Author's discourse from i. 1-3, to the 
present point, reveals a consecutive and consistent order of thought 
that holds strictly to the subject in hand. And as we proceed, 
we shall continue to observe the same thing. It is just, then, to 
assume that such is the case in the present language, and that 
the Author is not indulging in expressions of a general and com- 
prehensive nature, but expresses himself only ^vith respect to the 
subject in hand. Interpreting him thus, we will not assume 
that he expresses himself here in generalities, and thus we will 
find no room for perplexities that puzzle many readers * in respect 
to the antitheses of the context, and its alternations of metaphor- 
ical and literal expressions. 

» So von Hof., Del., Davidson. ^ So Liin., Alford, Del., von Ilof. 

3 So Chrys. * See in Alford and Liin., Lindsay. 


Lot US then observe/ that our ver. 12, comprising two parts, 
marked and conjoined by and, corresponds to the entire ver. 11, 
with its two parts similarly marked and conjoined. Ver. 1 1 
affirms that the Author has much to say ; and correspondingly 
ver. 12 refers to the rudiments of the beginning of the oracles of 
of God, that furnish the foundations of that concerning which he 
has so much to say ; while the need of saying so much, i. e., with 
such amplification, is because those, who, on account of the time 
ought to be teachers, need themselves to be taught. Again, ver. 
1 1 affirms, as a second matter, that the Author finds it hard to 
set forth these things with their interpretation because the 
readers are become dull of hearing ; and correspondingly, the 
second clause of ver. 12 affirms, as additional to what is affirmed 
in the first clause, that the readers are become such as need milk 
and not solid food. In all this the Author refers, not to things 
in general that are to be taught and learned concerning Christian 
knowledge. Reference to vi. 1, 2, as intimation of what is in 
the Author's mind, does not, when rightly understood, suggest 
this. His reference is strictly to the matters pertaining to his 
subject. When he says : some one must teach you the elements 
of the beginning of the oracles of God, he intimates that he 
therefore proposes himself to do the needful thing by them. He 
has already begun to do this in v. 1-3. And in the sequel, 
especially vii. 1 — x. 18, we may see how he continues to do it, 
and may see in his performance what he means by the elements 
of the beginning of the oracles pf God. Thus we observe, 
that one after another he rehearses the leading facts relating to 
Melchizedek (vii. 1-3), the Levites (vii. 11 sqq.), the high priest 
(viii. 3 sqq.), the Tabernacle (ix. 1-7), sanctification by blood- 
sprinkling (ix. 15-22) ; and following each of these is the inter- 
pretation that illustrates his great theme : Christ on high, a High 
Priest unique, and forever, i. e., after the order of INIclchizedek. 
Reasoning, then, from the facts thus furnished by the Author, 
we may infer his meaning when he speaks of the beginning of 
the oracles of God.^ 
The elements of the beginning of the oracles of God : so we 

' With von Ilof. * Comp. Angus. 


translate ra aror/ela riy? a-p'/7,a riov Xoyiwv r. S. ; and not " the first 
principles," making r. ap^/j^ qualify r. (ttu(^. adjectively, as is 
commonly done. And the reason for doing so is, that inference 
from the observations noted above leads us to suppose that 
the Author here expressly names the beg-inning of the oracles 
of God, meaning the divinely revealed things recorded in the 
beginning of the written word. We have seen at ii. 3 how the 
Author, in the preaching of the gospel of salvation, distinguishes 
between the beginning of it, which was done by the Lord Him- 
self, and that which followed in the preaching of those that heard 
Him. We notice the recurrence of the same notion vi. 1, " the 
word of the beginning of Christ." And at ii. 3, we traced the 
evidences of a similar usage common to the contemporaries of our 
Author. It would, in itself, be natural enough to distinguish in 
the same way regarding the word of God spoken in the Old 
Testament, taking what is delivered by Moses as the beginning, 
and what comes after as the continuation. That by r. ?.<iycio> the 
Old Testament is meant in distinction from the New Testament ' 
is the presumption from the other instances of New Testament 
use of the word ;^ and this is confirmed by the facts of the Apos- 
tle's subsequent discourse as noted above, wherein he deals only 
with matter recorded in the Old Testament. And that he means 
by the expression : the beginning of the oracles to point particu- 
larly to the beginning of Old Testament revelation is borne out 
by the fact that in the subsequent discourse vii. 1 — x. 18, he 
confines himself to matter recorded in the Pentateuch. For the 
quotation of Jer. xxxi. 31-34, quoted in viii. 8 sqq., makes no 
exception ; seeing it is adduced as a divine word for that truth 
which the Apostle has been establishing by considerations drawn 
from the elements of the beginning of the oracles of God. More- 
over, TO. <rr«j;jf££a^the elements, as the expression occurs in Gal. 
iv. 1-9 (bis.), so far as it is there applied specifically to the 
Judaizing tendencies there opposed, denotes the same things 
about which our Author discourses vi. 1 — x. 18, in order to show 
from those things themselves that, instead of their being ordi- 

^ So Owen in Pool, McKnight, von Hof., etc. 
^ Acts vii. 38 ; Eom. iii. 2 , 2 Pet. iv. 11. 


nances for the present, they are done away by the high priest- 
hood of Christ and all involved in that. And in Gal. iv. 1-9, 
as here in our vers. 11-13, to. azor^eia are represented as being 
for little children {yri-ui^). 

In Gal. iv. 1-9 Paul addresses Gentiles that were being 
ensnared into Judaism. Our Author addresses Jewish Christians 
who were falling back into Judaism. If, in the former case, 
TO. (TToc/sia, suited only for children, (^^rJTTiot), means " the elements 
of non-Christian mankind, i. e., the elementary things, the 
immature beginnings of religion that are the business of those 
that are outside of Christianity," or, in other words, " the rudi- 
menta ritualia, the ceremonial matter of Judaism and heathen- 
ism," ^ then the same expressions used in our verses of those 
purely Jewish may most likely mean the riuUmenta ritualia, the 
ceremonial matter of Judaism exclusively. And such we under- 
stand to be our Author's meaning, when he speaks of the ele- 
ments, which he defines more precisely as pertaining to the begin- 
ning of the oracles of God. 

He pointedly affirms that his readers themselves ought to be 
teachers, and as a reason he adds Sta rdv ypu'^wj - on account of 
the time. In what sense the Author means the former depends 
upon the sense expressed by the latter. It is common to under- 
stand (iifi T. -/fxi-Miv to mean : " for the long time," viz., that the 
readers have been believers. ^ And this, beside being a well sup- 
ported idiomatic meaning,^ seems to be suggested by the 
ysy6\'aTs = je are become, (vers. 11, 12), which implies a previous 
condition when they were otherwise, i. <?., not dull of hearing and 
not needing milk. Following this, then, the Author seems to 
intimate by dca r. y. the long time they have been conversant 
with the things in questions, or been taught them, and to give 
that as a reason why they ought by this time to be themselves 
teachers of them. But if, as has been observed above, the 
Author is not expressing himself in generalities, but with strict 
reference to the subject on which he means to discourse, then 

' See Meyer on Gal. iv. 3. 

* So Chrys., AeiKwaiv ivrav-da npu ttoXKov xfx^vov TrgTriGTevKorar avrov^. 

' See Liin., Alford. 


several things appear that are quite incompatible with this com- 
mon acceptation of the words we are considering. First, the 
Author must mean that his readers ought to be teachers, not of 
Christian truth in general, but of such truth as he is about to 
impart himself. Second, it is not apparent how this " oughtness " 
(d</)e{AovTS's) in their case could arise from the length of time that 
they had believed, unless it appears plain that during the period 
of their being Christians they were taught such things. Nothing 
of the sort, however, is plain, but all the evidences are to the 
contrary. We need only appeal to the New Testament scrip- 
tures themselves, and ask : where would we ourselves be with 
respect to the chief matters taught in tliis epistle, were we with- 
out this epistle itself, we who have been so much longer Chris- 
tians ? Reflection on these facts forbids our understanding the 
Author to be blaming his readers for ignorance of these things, 
or that he intimates that they ought to be teachers of them. 
And recurring to the context, we observe that his expressions do 
not actually affirm or even imply as much. He blames them 
for dullness of hearing, not for ignorance of what he has now to 
impart. He implies (jeyo'^ars) that once they were otherwise, i.e., 
that they were apt to learn, not that they once knew what they 
have now forgotten. For this reason (the one actually given 
and not those we deny) he intends to instruct them by an 
accumulation of illustration, yet will find it hard to do it in a 
convincing manner. There is nothing in this that necessarily 
involves the notion that his readers ought to know already the 
things they are now to be taught. And if reflection on known 
facts, as noticed above, makes it extremely improbable that they 
could have known such things as the Author proceeds to teach 
them, we are precluded from supposing that the Author means 
to intimate that they ought both to know and teach them, if his 
words can have another and very plain meaning. As for liis 
meaning in general that they ought to be teachers, we repeat, that 
such generalities are inconsLstent with the Author's manner of 
holding strictly to what belongs to his subject, and we may add, 
that his way of mentioning heads of doctrine, vi. 1, 2, as some- 
thing that may be passed by, taken with what we have already 

V. 12.] d<.a. Tov -/povov. 169 

observed as to the religious status of his readers, ' intimates 
capacity enough to be teachers in a general way. 

We take the meaning of dia r. xpo-xiv to be what has been sug- 
gested by Owen, but not insisted on by him. " It may intend 
the nature of the season they were under. There is no inconveni- 
ence in this sense, and it hath much good instruction in it ; but 
I will rather adhere to that which is more commonly received."^ 
On account of the time, the Apostle says^ and he means the time 
referred to by "To-day" (iii. 15; iv. 7), esjiecially as made por- 
tentious by the fact that it is " after so long a time" ^ (//sr« tixtoo- 
rov ^^pu'Mi-^y It was thus a period {xpo-^iK?) in contradistinction 
from a " season " or " point " of time {/.atpd^i). It was a time to 
exhort one another every day, " lest their hearts should be hard- 
ened through the deceitfulness of sin" (iii. 13). It was a time 
near its end. His readers, he says, referring later to the same 
time, " see the day approaching " (x. 25), and that day would 
end the time of gracious opportunity. For all that would fail 
to use it to escape, " the day " must be one in which they could 
only look for fiery judgment to devour them. Such a time had 
in itself all the motives and suggestions for teaching. In the other 
references to it, just cited, these motives and suggestions are 
pressed by the Author on his readers, and he urges them to 
attend diligently their meetings (x. 25), and to keep up daily 
exhortations (iii. 15; x. 25), the chief substance of which nmst 
be to point to the signs of " the day approaching," the nature of 
the crisis, and to warn against the deceitfulness of sin, especially 
as it appeared in the aims and efforts of those whom the Apostle 
designates as "the adversaries" (x. 27). And all such exhorta- 
tion was teaching, and those who imparted it were teachers, who 
felt that they ought to be teachers on account of the time. And 
that is what our Author means mIicu lie says of his readers, 
ye ought to be teachers on account of the time. Nothing but the 
fact that it has been so commonly misconceived, justifies so many 
words in establishing a meaning so simi>le as a matter of trans- 
lation, and so consistent with the Author's whole discourse. 

^ See e. g., p. 9 sqq. 

^ Owen in loc. Comp. Alford, for others that entertain this. ' T>e\. 

170 MILK FOR BABES. [v. 12. 

The Apostle says, that instead of being teachers (by which he 
means they ought to be teaching, for the time presses so), the 
readers need to be taught. That expresses the whole extent of 
antithesis intended. It does not comprehend also the matter to 
be taught. That might be, and actually was different. They 
ought to be teachers as the time furnished the motive aijd the 
theme. And after imparting to them the instruction he has in 
mind, the Author presses then to diligence in such teaching 
(x. 24, 25). But they are not doing so ; and it is because they 
are ignorant of the nature of the crisis, and of most fundamen- 
tal things concerning Christianity. Therefore, they have need 
that some one teach them in that respect. They are held in 
bondage by the ceremonial law, and they must be set free as chil- 
dren become free by attaining their majority. This necessitates 
their teacher " to teach them the elements of the beginning of 
the words of God." When the Author says : ye have need 
again " that some one teach you," the again does not imply that 
they are to be taught over again what they once leai-ned, but 
only that they are again to become learners, while they are taught 
the things mentioned. As said already, the antithesis extends 
only to this : instead of being teachers themselves, they again 
need to be taught. 

The Apostle adds : and are become such as have need of milk/ 
not of solid food. It is usual to understand the Apostle to say here 
metaphorically what he has said literally in the foregoing clause of 
our verse. But having noted as above the correspondence between 
the vers. 11 and 12, and their several clauses conjoined by "and," 
we find in our present clause an additional notion corresponding 
to the statement of ver. 11: "ye are become dull of hearing," 
yet not its metaphorical equivalent. The metaphor expresses 
figuratively a truth concerning those that are dull of hearing, 
which, like the dullness of hearing, makes it hard for the Author 
to explain what he proposes to teach when he teaches the ele- 
ments of the oracles of God. What he affirms of the readers 
does not imply that he must give them milk, and not solid food, 

i/ca/="and" omitted by Tisch., Treg., W. & H. 

V. 13.1 Xop)'i 8ixaioffiJVT^<;. 171 

and that he Intends, therefore, to give them intellectual food of 
that sort. It were as reasonable to suppose that, because they 
were dull of hearing, he must be content with their hearing 
little, and that he meant to be so. Whereas, on the contrary, he 
means that they shall hear much, and that they must, therefore, 
sharpen their hearing. And so in affirming what he does in the 
present clause, the Apostle, while blaming his readers with having 
got to need milk, means that it makes the difficulty in giving them 
solid food, yet implies that it is solid food that they mud have. 
To this second clause exclusively he adds the explanatory words 

Ver 1 3 : For everyone that partakes of milk is unskilled in 
right speech, for he is a babe. 

And in this the Apostle pursues the thought of verse 11, 
M'hen he says that what he has to impart is difficult 
of interpretation. He traces it to the character of those 
who are dull of heariuo-. Their being; such as needed milk, 
made right-speech unsuited to them as it is to babes. To 
babes on their mothers' breast one uses baby talk, and not the 
language that is fitted for grown persons, nor language that ade- 
quately represents things as they are. And infants talk to one 
another in language that is not right-speech. And here we 
accept for A<y"? dixaioauurji} the rendering proposed by Delitzsch 
(in loc). " As 1 Cor. xii. 8 (on Avhich see Olshausen), koyo^^ auxfia'i 
signifies the gift of speaking wisely, and Xoyu^ y^uxTsu}^ the gift 
of speaking wdth understanding, so X. 8t/.. signifies ability to 
speak in accordance with righteousness." " The genitival com- 
bination resembles the Hebrew pii' 'j::^, Ti-vi 'PDr, pii* 'jrxo ('• <'•, 
"stones, sacrifices, scales of righteousness").^ But with von 
Hofmunn {in he), we would modify this interpretation, adding: 
" Only this may not be transposed into meaning orthodox sj)ecch, 
but the Apostle appeals to the fact that he who is nourished on 
his mother's breast with milk does not understand correct lan- 
guage, because he is still under age ; in the most exact sense is 

* See, further, Del. Comp. Grotius. Gen. for adjective ; so that is called jiw/a 
hominus statura which attains to a full height ; so mammon jf righteousness 
(jiistitiae) i.e., true riches .(Lui^e xvi. 11, 12). 


v^jTrto?." By this interpretation we escape imputing to the Author 
a mingling of figurative and literal expressions, and this is no 
small weight in its favor. We have already noticed the coinci- 
dence of the mention of rd GToiy^zia and vrjTzwi in our passage and 
in Gal. iv. 1-9, which seems to justify the usual understanding, viz., 
that the Apostle means, by " the elements," milk for babes. And 
this may be allowed consistently with the foregoing explanations, 
if only it is not understood that teaching the elements, such as 
the Apostle says is necessary for his readers, is giving milk to 
babes. His readers were drawn to use those elements of cere- 
monial concern in the way that pertained to a childish minority 
in religion. Discourse about such elements among themselves, 
and as they expected to be talked to about them, could only be 
childish and incorrect speech. For that very reason they need(j|l 
to be taught, about those very elements of the beginning of the 
oracles of God. That teaching, however, will be discourse in 
correct speech, representing those elements in their true meaning 
and intent. Agreeably to this the Apostle proceeds : 

Ver. 14, But for full-grown men there is the solid food, for 
those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern 
both good and bad. 

These words are not meant merely to round oif the sentiment 
of the foregoing verse by its antithesis, saying that solid food is 
only for those full grown.^ It affirms what is the food proper 
for those full-grown.^ This turn of thought is denoted by : 
those full-grown (zeXsiwJ) being put emphatically foremost in the 
sentence. The following participial clause in apposition with 
TsXeicov explains how those that are full-grown were qualified to 
receive the solid food. Their senses, by reason of practice, that 
comes itself from frequent use, are skilled in distinguishing good 
and bad. In all this, as in ver. 13, the Author means his words 
to have their direct and proper sense, without blending phvsical 
and spiritual meanings.^ Thus good and bad mean things so 
pronounced by the test of the senses,* and especially the sense of 
taste.* And all this homogeneous representation he intends as a 

' Comp. Davidson ; against Alford. ^ So von Hof. 

^ Against Alford. * So von Hof. ^ Comp. 2 Sam. xix. 36. 

V. 14."] Tti altyf^rjTTj jiia ytYOn^airixi'^a. 173 

figure of what is true in divine learning, and in receiving spiritual 
food. He has expressly said that his readers have become such 
as need milk, not solid food ; in other words, infants. He can- 
not, therefore, mean here to imply that really they are full-grown, 
or that, in view of the long time that they have been Christians, 
they must be dealt with as if they were.^ The meaning we have 
obtained from '' on account of the time," obviates such confusion 
of notions. The readers are infants, and, being unfitted for 
solid food, the Apostle will so treat them. Not that he means 
to give them only milk, or even milk at all. Nor must we take 
it that he means to give them solid food,^ as if that were the only 
alternative. The very images he uses leave room for thinking 
of something between. But the Author does not leave that 
unexpressed. There is the transition between using milk as 
babes and using solid food as the full-grown. Those that are 
full-grown have hy a process reached the condition that uses solid 
food. Their organs of sense have been developed by exercise 
{^ftyoiJ.\ia<ji).i.>(jY with a view to^ distinguishing between good and 
bad. And this comes about as a matter of habit or use.^ All 
this is homely truth, or rather fact. 

It is unreasonable to suppose that the Author adds this par- 
ticipial clause merely as an amplification of the notion : " those 
full-grown," or as the qualification of zzXzluyj^ As an explana- 
tion of who are full-grown, it is needless ; as merely a physiologi- 
cal explanation of how they can bear solid food, it is a trifling 
digression ; as qualifying -rsAci'wv, denoting the kind of adults 
that may have solid food, as if some adults may not have it, it 
is absurd. And yet such a physiological observation is too 
remarkable to be introduced without a special purpose. It Aas 
point and fitness as reminding, that those not full-grown so as to 
be fitted to receive solid food, may become such ; in other words, 
that immature Christians, who are unequal to receiving and using 

' Against von Ilof., Diividson. * Against Davidson. 

^Connects directly with t/joc rfmxp. «. r. "k. exclusive oi'fxovruu. * Alford. 

^ 6ia Tfjv e^cv, not, "by use," which Sid with accus. forhids (see Alford), and 
would be tautological taken with the connected expression; but "on account 
of habit," assigning the reason of the thing predicated. ® Alford. 


such doctrine as is the sup]")ort and comfort of mature Christians, 
may become like the latter. It will come about by gradual 
development, by exercising their spirtual organs of perception 
and apprehension. And the Apostle proposes to treat his readers 
in tliis way, using such a discipline. He does not mean to give 
them milk ; neither does he mean to treat them as full-grown 
and giv^e them freely solid food. He means to lead them on to 
the full-grown condition ; as he says, vi. 1 : " let us press on to 
full-gro\vth." And it will be found, as we progress in the study 
of our Author from the present point onwards, that he imposes 
on his readers a discipline of learning that admirably corresponds 
to the process by which one attains to the full-grown condition 
that freely and habitually uses solid food. At every step, and 
by presenting successively a variety of matters, the spiritual fac- 
ulty is exercised in distinguishing between the spiritually good 
and bad. Thus, as a matter of habit, the learner comes to reject 
what is noxious, and to keep and use what is good, as the adult 
rejects the rind of the melon, and eats only what is proper food. 
Of course, in this process, solid food is given. But not as one 
gives it to the full-grown. It is as one gives meat and fruits to 
small children, teaching them in the very act what to use and 
what to throw away. Nothing could more accurately describe 
what the Apostle does in vii. 1 — x. 18 with reference to the ele- 
ments of the beginning of the oracles of God. His readers were 
for eating the shell. He teaches them to throw away the shell 
and eat the kernel. 

VI. 1 a. "Wherefore, leavings the word of the beginning- of Christ 
let us press on to fuU-growth. 

The wherefore {'^td), as already intimated, refers to what is 
represented in v. 14. By that, the Apostle has signified that 
there is a process by which the full-grown became qualified to 
use solid food. By such a process, his readers may be similarly 
qualified, and in that sense press on to full-gro^^'th. The possi- 
bility of this furnishes the motive for undertaking it, and thus 
he says : wherefore. This logical sequence, which seems obvious 
where once stated, shows that by rsXetdrTj? is meant the same 
notion as rihto? expresses, v. 14, viz., full-growth. It is thus 

vi. 1 a.] PRESS ON TO FULL-GROWTIT. 175 

the full-growth itself that the Apostle sets up as the thing to be 
aimed at ; aiicl he presents this very properly as the goal for 
those whom he has pronounced to be as babes (v. 13). And 
this seems to settle the much-debated question : in M'liat sense 
does the Apostle use the first jw'rson plural ? about which expos- 
itors are equally divided.^ It is not with reference only to him- 
self. This might seem the most probable, did : let us press on to 
full-growth mean : let us consider the higher doctrines of Chris- 
tianity and use solid food. With such a meaning the Author 
would be resuming the use of the first person plural, as he used 
it V. 11, and would intimate his purpose to impart something of 
the " much discourse " there referred to. We feel, liowever, that 
there is something strange and improper in encouraging his 
readers to neglect, even for the present, such foundation matters 
as are mentioned in our vers. 1, 2, in favor of learning deeper 
mysteries. But if the proposed goal is to attain to full-growth, 
it is the readers that are to make this attainment, and not the 
Apostle ; and he proposes this goal in the first person plural as 
offering' himself to help them to it. 

Presenting full-growth as the goal, it is a condition, a status 
the Apostle would bring about. Consequently, nothing in this 
expression itself affirms one way or other that what the Apostle 
proposes to teach is solid food or the contrary. " For those full- 
grown there is the solid food," he has said v. 14. For those 
pressinff on to fuU-groirth, we ought to infer, there is something dif- 
ferent needed. And babes have need of milk, he has said, v. 12, 13. 
We must equally infer, therefore, that, for those emerging from 
infancy and qualifying themselves as full-grown, something else 
is needed. What is needed, according to the Author, we may 
infer only from what he expresses v. 14, viz., it is what will exei'- 
cise their spiritual se7ise so as to distinquish good and. bad. A dis- 
cipline of such exercise will lead his readers on to full-gro^^i:h. 
Such a discipline he proposes when he says : let us press on to 

In leading his readers in such a discipline, the Author must 
assume a point of departure, and make such a selection of matter 

^ See Alford, Liin. 


as will best conduce to the desired result. And both of these 
things he does in the most express manner. He expresses the 
former by saying : Leaving the word of the beginning of Christ. 
He expresses the latter by saying : 

Ver. 1 b, 2. Not laying again a foundation of repentance from 
dead works, and of faith on God, and of doctrine of baptisms, and of 
laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal 

For it is erroneous to suppose, as is commonly done, that these 
two participial clauses mean the same thing, the latter only 
explaining the precise sense in which the former is intended. 
This confounding of two things that are distinct produces confu- 
sion to which may be ascribed much of the divergence of views 
among expositors about our verses 1-8. But taking both 
together, as expressing distinct, yet connected things, we may 
notice a substantial identity between what is thus referred to and 
what the Author has already mentioned at ii. 3, 4. In the pas- 
sage ii. 3, 4, the Author represents the preaching of the gospel 
in two parts, viz., that which he describes as " a salvation that 
took a beginning to be spoken by the Lord." And then that : 
" it was confirmed unto us by them that heard, God bearing wit- 
ness along with them, by signs and wonders and divers powers 
and distributions of the Holy Spirit according to His will." The 
two parts thus distinguished are reflected in the clauses before us, 
and contemplated in the same relation. 

The former expresses the beginning of all knowledge of Christ 
and interest in Him, and is the foundation of Christian life in 
the sense of the material that constitutes the foundation, as in 
Eph. ii. 20. The latter refers to the continuation of what is 
thus begun in the way of confirming it {i. e., making fiii3at(><;= 
steadfast). The latter was the proper Apostolic work. The 
former, as a finished work, must be forever the same.^ The lat- 
ter would vary with circumstances, especially, according as the 
Apostles and other ministers would be dealing with those that 
heard the gospel for the first time, or with such as had known 
and confessed it a longer or shorter time. The former would 

' xii. 2 ; xiii. 8. 

Vi. 1 h, 2.] CHOOSING THE SUBJECT. 177 

also, indeed, be a concern of Apostolic ministry. For tlioy must 
give an account of Christ's ministry on eartli. And a suitable 
designation for that would be : the word of the beginning of Christ. 
And thus^ Mark entitles his gospel: "The beginning of the 
gospel of Christ. " Sucli, we may infer, was the Apostle Peter's 
own way of naming that part of his instruction that comprised 
an account of the acts and sayings of Christ. We make this 
particular reference to Peter, because Mark was long his compan- 
ion, and, according to reliable tradition, wrote his gospel under 
the influence of that Apostle. 

Our Author, then, proposes to leave the word of the beginning 
of Christ, as something well knoAvn, and not needing to be 
repeated, while he would have his readers press on to full-growtli. 
And by this he does not mean to waive aside the consideration of 
it, to leave it behind as needing no consideration. Nor does he 
intimate that it is inferior, in any sense, to the matter he uses. 
He rather makes it his point of departure, and thus, as it were, 
his base, and assumes it as the premise of what he is about to 
say. And notably the death, resurrection and ascension of Clirist, 
all matters pertaining to the word of the beginning of Christ, 
constitute a most important part of the subsequent discourse. 

Designating, thus, his point of departure, the Author also 
intimates that he makes a selection of matter that will conduce 
to the result he aims at, viz., pressing on to full-gro^Ai:!!. He 
intimates this negatively : not laying again a foundation of repent- 
ance from dead works, etc. The naturalness of tluis noticing 
things he proposes not to treat of appears plain enough when we 
observe the relation between our vers. 1, 2 and ii. 3, 4. The 
mention at ii. 3 6, 4, shows what was the common way of con- 
firming what began with the word of the beginning of Christ. 
It was, therefore, that which his readers miglit export liim to 
pursue. And this fact, together with tlie fact of having already 
mentioned it, and that, too, as something not to be neglected 
without peril, makes it quite expedient tliat tlie Author, while 
preferring other matter, should show that he does not overlook 

* Comp. above on ii. 3. 


178 THE TOPICS WAIVED ASIDE [vi. 1 b, 2. 

Such a preference of other matter of discourse to the topics he 
mentions expresses no judgment as to their intrinsic or even 
relative importance. It only intimates, that what is waived aside 
suits the Author's present purpose less than what he actually 
uses. With the object he has in view and the situation to which 
he speaks, the Author will use matter of discourse that will dis- 
cipline Jewish Christians tending back to Judaism, in distin- 
guishing between good and bad. Thus we may regard it as a 
great mistake, to assume, as is commonly done, that the Apostle 
intimates, that what he proposes to impart is of the nature of 
solid food, compared with the word of the beginning of Christ, 
and with those things he mentions as pertaining to foundation. 
It must be a relief to most minds to escape such an inference. 
For it is by no means plain how the subjects treated in the sub- 
sequent discourse are deeper or higher than the truths of Chris- 
tianity that must be denoted by the summary given in our 
verses 1. 2. And, on the other hand, it is obviously quite as 
impossible to regard such matter as follows in the epistle as being 
merely elementary matter, or millv ; for it presents truths and 
presents them in a way that calls for the best exercise of a robust 
spiritual understanding. 

In turning to consider the several things pertaining to founda- 
tion that the Author announces a present purpose not to treat of, 
we may preface, as something obvious, that what the Author 
names only to dismiss, does not call for comment from us in 
order to understand what he does proceed to teach. His few 
and comprehensive words of mention (vers. 1, 2), have, however, 
been commonly treated by expositors at considerable length.^ 
But the labor expended in this way, except to correct erroneous 
interpretations, seems very much as if one were to attempt a 
labored exposition of the Apostle Peter's meaning, when he pro- 
posed putting up three tabernacles when Christ was transfigured ; 
wherein the record itself explains that he did not know what he 
was saying.^ As our Author mentions several heads of doctrine 
only to express the purpose of saying nothing about them, we 

1 C'omp. Del., Alford. * Luke xix. 33. 


consequently can knoic nothing of them beyond wliat may be 
plain in the names themselves, as interpreted from other sources. 
These names conveyed definite notions to his readers. They do not 
equally so to us, as is manifest from the debates about them 
among expositors. If it were true, as is commonly supposed, 
that the Author means to designate certain heads of doctrine 
that are primary elements of Christian instruction, and which he 
passes over for that reason, then, of course, the inquiry as to 
what he means must have the interest usually felt in scrutinizing 
what he says here. Though the real interest of that inquiry is 
the difficulty of seeing how such matters of doctrine can be ele- 
mentary in the sense of ever being something to leave behind, as 
one does his A. B. C.^ But with the understanding of the 
Author's aim that w^e have reached, we have only to notice how 
the topics he waives aside suit that aim less than the topics he 
proceeds to present and illustrate. At present we can only notice 
how they might be fitted for his purpose, leaving the greater fitness 
of the topics he prefers instead, to appear when we come to consider 
what he actually says about them. As has been already intimated, 
this present fitness may be, as we think it is, wholly determined 
by the situation of the readers, and not by the nature of the subjects 
named. As a matter of fact, whether we treat them as simply 
things to know, or as subjects to discipline the spiritual mind in 
distinguishing good and bad, and at the same time actually con- 
firming them in the good (which we regard as the Author's real 
aim), the matters of doctrine now mentioned are actually treated 
in the New Testament in a way to make them (juite the 
peers of those matters the Author prefers for present treatment. 
On repentance from dead works and faith toward God, compare 
Rom. i.-ix. ; Gal. iii. — v. 12. On the resurrection of the dead, 
compare 1 Cor. xv. 

The Apostle expresses a choice of material for instruction 
(negatively) by : not laying again foundation. It is common for 
us to use the figure of. a foundation with reference to the idea of 
a superstructure. And it is usual to understand that the Apos- 
tle here means the same. And to this interpretation all are 

^ Del., after Luther, on v. 12. 

180 ^£/iihov xaTa[iaX)MiJ.svo<s. [ vi. 1 b, 2. 

inevitably led who suppose that he means to discourse on higher 
Christian truths that imply the previous foundation of elementary 
truths, and constitute a superstructure to it.^ But our under- 
standing of the Author's aim leads to no such conception. 
Moreover, common language often uses the word foundation 
without involving the additional notion of a superstructure. 
When we speak of being well-founded in the truth, we mean 
being firmly established and made steadfast in it, without dis- 
tinguishing the notions of a foundation and superstructure. And 
in the New Testament this notion of a foundation {fhiiiXux;) 
occurs as much as the other.^ The foundation represents the 
steadfastness, and confirmation, and immovability, of the things 
concerned ; and laying a foundation is establishing and confirm- 
ing, i. e., instituting in a fashion to make firm and steadfast 
(^,3i,3a'.i)'i). And such we suppose is the xVpostle's meaning in the 
present language, as it obviously is at ii. 3, 4. In the passage 
ii. 3, 4, confirming the word to those that heard the gospel was 
confirming them, so that they should first accept it with confi- 
dence, and then so hold fast to it to the end. And to this notion 
the Apostle several times recurs.^ Here, then, we note another 
resemblance between our vers. i. 2, and ii. 3, 4. When, there- 
fore, the Apostle follows the mention of the word of the begin- 
ning of Christ with the mention of laying a foundation, he means 
making the former and all involved in it sure and steadfast, or, 
in other words, confirming the readers in the word of Christ, so 
that they would hold that with boldness firm unto the end. And 
this reflection reveals, that the present language conveys the 
notion that the heads of instruction that the Apostle mentions, 
only to pass from them, would be one way of achieving the 
result he has in view. 

Following i'}£!iiXu)v xara^iaX. = laying foundation, are various 
nouns in the genitive : of repentance, of faith, of a doctrine of 
baptisms, etc. These genitives do not, as is commonly supposed, 
describe the material of which the foundaJ:ion is composed, as is 

1 Comp. 1 Cor. iii. 10-12. 

'^Comp. Luke vi. 48, 49; 1 Tim. vi. 19; 2 Tim. ii. 19; Heb. xi. 10; 1 Peter 
V. 10; Eph. iii. 17; Col. i. 23. ^i^^ q^ 14. ^^ ^g, 19; xiii. 9. 


the case in a similar construction, Eph. ii. 20, where apostles and 
prophets and Christ are so represented. These are subjective 
genitives,' that express the efficient means of giving foun<latiun. 
Thus I'fs/jiiXtd^ rciu I'j^sot) means what God has founded and made 
him.^ And so the rich man's " foundation against the time to 
come," ^ might be called a foundation of doing good, and of 
munificence in good works, and of willingness to share what he 
has; the things in the genitive expressing the efficient means by 
which he " lays up in store that good fjuudation." So in our 
verses, repentance, faith, and doctrine of baptisms, etc., are the 
efficient means by which a foundation may be laid that would 
secure the steadfastness of Christians.'* The things so mentioned, 
as far as we know what they mean (and only baptisms is very 
obscure), would obviously contribute to such a result. 

The Apostle mentions first, repentance from dead works. This 
is not repentance in its general sense, which is one of the first 
things announced as necessary to salvation. It is a particular 
operation of repentance. Dead works, as an expression, recurs 
ao'ain ix. 14, and no where else in the New Testament. Its usC' 
in ix. 14, shows a meaning that applied in a peculiar way to 
Jews and their relation to the Levitical institutions. They were 
works done according to the ceremonial law, and relied on as 
having a justifying and sanctifying and saving efficacy. They 
are called dead as having no life-power in them, either because 
done away in the sense of "a dead letter," or, because unable to 
impart life. Repentance from dead works must come from a 
knowledge of this truth about them, and show itself in turning 
from them. The complete notion of repentance always compre- 
hends something to which one turns when turning away from 
something else. The notion is completed here by : and of faith 
in God. The Apostle does not use the expression : " faith in 
Christ," which is tlie usual concomitant of repentance. This 
may have an explanation in the particular operation of repent- 
ance from dead works, peculiar to Jews, when becoming Cliris- 

1 Comp. Winer, Gram. p. 186. ^ 2 Tim. ii. 10. ' 1 Tim. vi. lit. 

* Comp. ^//ftn/Ac x^'pog rriariv = "give a promise made by the hand," Kiili- 
ner, Gramm. II., p. 287. 

182 DOCTEINES OF BAPTISMS, ETC. [vi. 1 b, 2. 

tians. It may be because faith in Christ is the result at which 
the instruction would aim, and cannot, therefore, be itself the 
means of founding itself, which faith on God may be. When, 
soon after, at ver. 12, the Apostle adduces an example of faith, 
it is the faith of Abraham on God, with reference to God's 
promise, which faith was the sole cause of his steadfastness. 
And the same faith must be to the Christian the strong confidence 
of Ms hope (ver. 18). The two items, thus far mentioned, are 
experiences that initiate the Christian's relation to Christ. Those 
that follow continue that relation by means of the doctrinal con- 
siderations involved in them, which confirm the faith already 

The Apostle adds : of doctrine ^ of baptisms, etc. We are led, 
by the logical sense of the things here enumerated and their 
necessary relation to : " laying a foundation," to take dcdaxrji 
= of a doctrine, as the genitive directly connecting with I'/e/iihov = 
foundation, and the other substantives in the genitive as depend- 
ent on diliayj^^? By doctrine here is meant the same sort of 
thing as by " doctrines," xiii. 9, where '' divers and strange doc- 
trines " mean such as Judaizing teachers inculcated concerning 
" meats." Here the Apostle means doctrines derived from and 
illustrated by the things referred to in baptisms, laying on hands, 
etc., and derived in ihe same fashion as he proceeds to derive 
doctrine from the consideration of Melchizedek, the Levitical 
priesthood and sacrifices, and as he has been doing from consid- 
eration of the high-priestly office. By doctrine, therefore, he 
does not refer to the loci communes of Christian instruction, such 
as his readers might be presumed to be already familiar with, 
certainly to have been taught. The expression of such a definite 
notion would seem to require, the article : ri^? dc(Jayr^(^. He means 
such doctrine as he would impart were he proposing to found and 
confirm ^ his readers by considering such matters as he mentions 
now, instead of those he actually chooses to discourse about. 
The things he mentions are, by their very names, and especially 

^ Westc. and H., and Lach., read didaxvv, instead of 6i6axv? that is common 
to other editions. ^ See in Alford. 

^ Comp. T&efieliuaei 1 Pet. v. 10 ; and jSefiaiova'&ai, Heb. xiii. 9. 

vi. 1 h, 2.] LAYING ON HANDS. 183 

as those names are conjoined with " the word of Christ, repent- 
ance from dead works, and faith on God," to be understood of 
Christian things, and not, as some suppose,* of Old Testament 
matters, nor of Old Testament and New Testament matters com- 
bined,^ as many suppose, at least,^ in reference to baptisms. 

AVhat the Apostle means by baptisms, in the plural, is obscure. 
If, for the reasons just given, we confine the reference to what 
was purely Christian, the reference of the plural may be to the 
frequency of the observance of the ordinance ; it being required 
of every one that believed that he should also be baptized.^ And 
discourse on this (not merely on the significance of the ordinance 
itself, but also on the need of every Christian to be baptized) 
after the fashion of Rom. vi. 1-14, would, mutatis mutandis, 
confirm the conviction that a Christian must no longer live in 
" dead works ; " as in Rom. vi. 1-14, the reasons derived from 
baptism show how all Christians so baptized must "reckon 
themselves dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus." 
A distinction founded on the different words used for baptism, viz., 
iSaTTTCfT/xo^ here and the more common pdnziap-a, has been proposed 
by Jac. Cappellus, and is adopted by Alford. And accordingly, 
our ^a-zTiiyijM is supposed to refer comprehensively to Christian, 
Johannic and Jewish baptisms, regarded as ceremonial washings. 
The only weighty consideration in favor of this, as opposed to 
the considerations we have allowed to determine us already, is 
the recurrence of ^a-naiw^, ix. 10. But our Author refers there 
to the washings in question with a reprobation that leaves no 
room for imagining that he would make them a topic for doc- 
trinal instruction in any other fashion than appears there. 

Of laying on hands, is next mentioned, and this so closely con- 
joined with " baptisms " (by re) as to make these two items a 
pair. This is what we might expect from what we learn in the 
Acts (viii. 15-17 ; xix. 5 sq.), which gives us our clearest informa- 
tion with regard to tliat Apostolic practice. In their ministry it 
followed the athuinistratiou of baptism, and signified the bestowal 

' Comp. Macnight. * As Tholuck in Lindsay, Alford. 

^ See Liin. * So von liof. Comp. Calvin. 

184 EESUERECTION OF THE DEAD. [vi. 1 b, 2. 

of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and was often attended by mira- 
culous demonstrations. And if we have been correct in tracing as 
above a parallel between our verses 1, 2, and ii. 3, 4, then we I 

may suppose that, by laying on of hands, the Author means to 
notice, by a briefer expression, what he refers to in ii. 4, as God's 
bearing testimony with the preachers of the word by signs and 
Avonders and distributions of the Holy Spirit. If we would ^ 

conjecture how he would likely use this topic to profit his read- ' 

ers in their peculiar danger, we might refer to Gal. iii. 1-5. 
For there the gift of the Holy Spirit, evinced by the receipt and 
display of supernatural gifts, being wholly indejiendent of any 
teaching or observance of Jewish ceremonial institutions, is 
pointed to as a proof, that God did not lay any such law on 
Christians, but that Christians, as Paul said of himself, " are 
dead through law that they might live to God." ^ Certainly the 
tone of rebuke in that passage, and the general tenor of what is 
said, would admirably fit in the present context, \\\\\\q, the 
expression : ivap^d/ievoc -'^su/iart, vhv (Tapxi k-KmXsTfff^h = " having 
begun in the Spirit, are ye now perfected in the flesh ?" presents 
a remarkable identity both of thought and phrase. 

Resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment make the last 
pair [rs-xai) of the topics mentioned. There is scarcely need for 
remarking that these two subjects were in Apostolic preaching 
put boldly front, and announced together in the same breath,^ 
and confessed to be essential Christian truths. How the Apostle 
might handle the fact of Christ's resurrection in such a way as 
to found and make steadfast believers that were tempted to let go 
their hold on Christ for the fallacious confidence of dead works, 
we may conjecture from recurring again to Rom. vi. 1—11, and 
also to Phil. iii. 3-11 ; Col. ii. 20 — iii. 1. And for the same pur- 
pose, with reference to the eternal judgment, we may compare 
Rom. ii. 1-16, Avhere, according to the Apostle's gospel, Gentile 
and Jew must alike be judged by Christ in the great day, and 
thus everything for future life depends on holding to Christ by 

The light thrown on the topics mentioned in our vers. 1, 2, by 
* Gal. ii. 19, comp. J. B. Liglitfoot, in loc. ^ Comp. Acts xvii. 13. 


the foregoiDg reflections and comparisons of Paul's discourses 
elsewhere, must, we think, make it plain that the xVpostle does 
not mean to intimate that they are elementary Christian things 
like milk for babes. It is equally plain that they aflorded 
material for instruction that, in competent hands, could be 
handled in a way to correct and restrain those that miirlit be 
tempted to forsake Christ for Judaism ; and also to afford strong 
meat or solid food as much as anything the Author actually pro- 
ceeds to discourse on. Moreover, they would be, according to 
the manner of Apostolic instruction, the topics the Apostle might 
be expected to deal with ; and thus his passing them by would 
call for some notice. 

Beside these conclusions just expressed, we thmk the foregoing 
observations on the topics the Author mentions must prompt the 
reflection, that these are the topics that Paul would have handled 
to instruct a situation like the present, and the passages of his 
letters cited above show how he would have handled them. We 
think, however, that we see more than this from such evidence. 
We do not see in the Author only one of like mind with Paul 
and his peer in argument, but different in his choice of material. 
AVe see the evidences that the same Apostle is the Author here, 
with only the difference that was necessary when writing to 
Jewish Christians instead of Gentile Christians, or churches 
composed chiefly of Gentiles. The Apostle continues : 

Ver. 3. Also this we will do if God permit. The view we 
have taken of the matters referred to in the participial clause 
(vers. 1, 2) beginning Avith : not again laying a foundation, etc., 
makes it very natural to take T<r>r<> = this, as referring to that 
way of founding the readers.^ Other considerations confirm this 
construction. The nocrj/ro/is'^ (indie.) requires it. The remoter 
reference to (fsputizfta would require -inrj<To) (subj.)^ and ex- 
plains that reading. Moreover, rovro is to be referred to the 
nearest antecedent, unless it is evident that the more remote " is 
mentally nearer."^ And in vers. 4-G (which give the reason for 

^ So von Hof. ; see others in Alford. 

^ [Griesb., Lachm.], Bleek, Del., Alford, Liin. ' Winer Gram. p. 157. 


adding : if God permit, by showing a situation wherein God may 
not permit), the point of what is represented is expressed in the 
words : " impossible to renew to repentance," which reflects the 
expression : " laying a foundation of repentance." Thus there 
is a close logical connection, as if the Author said : we will lay 
again a foundation of repentance, etc., if God permit, for it is 
impossible to renew some to repentance. Moreover, we may ask, 
with von Hofmann : wjiy should not God permit one to press on to 
full-growth as a Christian ? Where is it written that God may not 
permit one to do well ? We must, therefore, understand, that our 
verse expresses the purpose of doing what the Apostle expresses 
may not be done at present. He will do it if God permit. And 
here, from the nature of the doing referred to, we must under- 
stand the first person plural to refer to the Apostle himself alone. 
As for those to whom this purpose would relate, it is evident 
that they are others than the readers whom the Apostle now 
addresses ; first from the character of the representation that fol- 
lows vers. 4-8, and then from the express language to that effect 
ver. 9 sqq. 

The expressed condition of his doing this is not the mere Deo 
volenti of common discourse.^ There are considerations that 
cause apprehension that God will not permit what the Apostle 
would do. How this may be, he proceeds to explain in the 
affirmation of vers. 4-8, which yap = for introduces as a reason. 
But the fact that the Apostle says he will do it if God permit, 
expressly signifies that it is something God may permit, in which 
case he will do wliat is needful to it. And this is plainly inti- 
mated with reference to the persons the Apostle proceeds to 
describe, for he has them in mind. The observation just made 
should be borne in mind while considering w^iat follows, vers. 
4-8. It is an antecedent intimation of the possibility of that 
which is about to be declared impossible. As such, it requires 
us to understand the subsequent affirmation with a qualification ; 
which qualification, we may suppose, is indicated by the context. 
And we may anticipate so far as to say that the qualification is 
two-fold. It is impossible, while the doing of the persons 
^ Comp. 1 Cor. xvi. 7. ^ Against Davidson. 

vi. 3.] RESUME OF ii. 17-vi. 4. 187 

referred to is equivalent to crucifying the Son of God ; and, 
again, if God shall visit such a crime with the swilt punishment 
it deserves, (vers. 6 b, 8.) 

In order to enter into the thought of the Author at this point, 
let us recover some of the ground he has already gone over. 

At ii. 17, 18 we have noticed that the Author has already 
introduced what is now to be the topic of discourse for the pur- 
pose just expressed, vi. 1. The purpose is " to press on to full- 
growth." The topic of discourse is " Christ a merciful and 
faithful Hight Priest in things pertaining to God " (ii. 1 7) ; 
which topic the Author has already begun to treat of at iv. 14, 
and interrupts by the digression v. 11 — vi. 20, of which our 
verses 4-8 form a part. But at iii. 1 the Author presents the 
subject introduced ii. 17, 18, in a double aspect, viz., ''Jesus the 
Apostle and High Priest," and he first makes Jesus the Apostle 
the topic of discourse, comparing Him with Moses. The dis- 
course on this topic is comprised in iii. 1 — iv. 13, in which the 
Author first (iii. 1-6) represents the superiority of Jesus to 
Moses, with reference to the house of God, and then (iii. 7 — iv. 
13) continues with a digression consisting of a warning (iii. 7—19), 
followed (iv. 1-13) by exhortation that introduces new matter 
suited to the general aim of the epistle, /. c, suited to jiiake the 
readers steadfast in their Christian profession. With regard to 
the warning (iii. 7-19), we noted in its proper place how its 
underlying thought is related to ii. 1-3. In both ii. 1-3 and 
iii. 7 sqq. the readers are treated as they are introduced at i. 1, 
viz., as the one people of God that had been favored with a word 
of revelation of God, differing only, as time moved on, in the 
character of what was revealed. The view-point common to ii. 
1-3 and iii. 7 sqq. is that the readers are, as those of old, under 
the dispensation ministered by angels, with the difference that 
the Son of God has spoken to them a word that offers them 
escape from the operation of that angelic ministry, which, 
attended, as it necessarily was, with transgression, is now attended 
by impending judgment and punishment. At ii. 1—3 the warn- 
ing is to escape, as to those that have heard of the way to do so. 
And Avhat they must escape is the same punishment that was 

188 EESUME OF ii. 17-vi. 4. [vi. 3. 

appointed for the transgression that was the same for all that 
were under the word spoken by angels. At iii. 7 sqq. the warn- 
ing differs only in this, that now the readers are treated as 
persons that had professed to accept the salvation offered, and in 
whom, therefore, what would before have been only neglect, must 
now be apostasy. The warning, accordingly, is still more sol- 
emn. It is a warping to beware of becoming apostates. But 
the punishment to be apprehended for such is still the penalty 
attending the word spoken by angels, of which the example is 
taken from the embitterment in the wilderness. And it is 
expressly intimated, that if the readers incur the punishment of 
apostasy, their doing and its punishment will be, not simply 
like, but an example of the same thing that occurred in the 
embitterment in the wilderness (iv. 11). Moreover, we have 
found that the Author (iii. 12) refers to a definite apostasy that 
is in prospect, and this gives the motive for that urgency to 
exhort one another in order to prevent unbelief, treachery and 
disobedience, and to enter into the promised rest. After this 
digression of warning, the Author recurs (iv. 14 sqq.) to his 
subject of ii. 17, 18, discoursing now about Christ as High 
Priest, which continues to be the subject of discourse, except as 
it is interrupted by the present digression, v. 11 — vi. 20, of 
which our verses 4-8 form a part. 

This digression, too, is, like iii. 7 — iv. 13, composed of a warn- 
ing (v. 11 — vi. 8) followed by exhortation, with introduction of 
new matter thereby suggested (vers. 9-20), suited to the general 
aim of this epistle. But the view-point is not changed from that 
of the warning at ii. 7 sqq. This appears from the meaning we 
ascertained for the words : " ye ought to be teachers on account 
of the time" (v. 12). It is a time that calls for such teaching 
as is meant by : " exhort one another while after so long a time 
it is called : To-day." It further appears that the view-point is 
not changed, from the obvious fact that our verses 4—8 represent 
a situation of actual apostasy, which must be understood to rep- 
resent the character of that apostasy that the Author has already 
made a subject of warning (iii. 12). Thus it appears that the 
present warning is but a resumption of that in iii. 7 sqq. which 

vi. 3.] RESUME OF ii. 17-vi. 4. 189 

differs from the warning already given only in something that 
marks progress in the thought. But being a resumption of the 
warning there, it mud assume the notions represented there, as pre- 
sent in the readers mind. Now, at iii. 6, the Author says of him- 
self and his readers : " we are the house of God if we hold stead- 
fast the boldness and the boast of the hope until the end." In 
this the holding steadfast till the end is the emphatic notion. 
And tlie warning that follows (iii. 7 sqq.) is intended to move 
the readers to needful diligence in that respect, and it reiterates 
the very expression again (iii. 14), saying : " we are companions 
of Christ if we hold steadfast the boldness till the end." That 
persevering boldness of hope is imperiled by "hardening" that 
is induced by " deceit of the sin " by which is meant, particularly, 
the allurements to turn from Christ to Judaism. The consequence 
of yielding to these seductive influences is represented in descrip- 
tive terms drawn from the embitterment in the wilderness, which 
gives tlie type of what their sin would be and of its punishment. 
It is the sin of Christians the Author speaks of, and their apos- 
tasy would be from Christ, and the thing they must forfeit would 
be salvation. But, using Old Testament terms of expression, 
the Author calls their sin : hardening the heart, and the apostasy 
is said to be from God, and what they forfeit is the promise of 
God's rest. Yet such representation of Christian things by terras 
drawn from the ancient situation is perfectly true to the Christian 
situation. The terms cover both cases ; and their very use in 
this way expresses the essential identity of the two situations 
better than could be done in any other way. 

In the present context (v. 11 — vi. 20) the Author warns his 
readers about the same subject. But in our verses 4-8 he 
approaches it more closely. In iii. 7 sqq. he warns against the 
danger of apostasy. Here he represents the state of one that 
actually has apostatized, and tells what it jgicans. It means a 
situation that admits of no efforts to renew them to repentance,* 
and for which destruction is at hand. For in the j^ni-able by 
which he illustrates this solemn truth, he adds the trait : " it is 
rejected and nigh unto a curse, whose end is to be burned." 

' Comp. xii. 16, 17. 

190 RESUME OF ii» 17-vi. 4. [vi. 4, 5. 

What is thus represented is in order to explain why the condi- 
tion, "if God permit," is expressed. The situation of actual 
apostasy is one where God may not permit such eiforts to renew 
to repentance ; and thus, to the apostate, such discipline of which 
the Author now says : this we will do, would be in vain. One of 
the reasons for this is a question of time. God will soon (x. 25) 
make known His mind toward that state by sending destruction, 
on the apostates. So that the Utile time left is one of the factors in 
the question whether God will permit. 

In this representation the Author moves in the same sphere of 
notions that prevail in the warning of iii. 7 sqq. The reasonable 
inference is, that he expresses himself in the same way. In other 
M'ords, he represents the situation of apostasy from Christ in terms 
draumfrom that ancient and first apostasy of God's people in the 
wilderness. The terms cover both cases ; and he does this in 
order, in an impressive manner, to identify them as essentially 
the same. So doing, the minds of his readers, reverting naturally 
to the facts of that ancient apostasy, and its catastrophe, would 
identify the truthfulness of what is affirmed of the present situa- 
tion. As corroborative illustration of the Author's manner of 
blending Old and New Testament notions, we may refer to xi. 
25 where, conversely, he represents an Old Testament act by an 
expression drawn from the Christian situation, and says : Moses 
" esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the trea- 
sures of Egypt." And again, xiii. 13 he represents a Christian 
act by terms drawn from the situation in the wilderness : " Let 
lis go to him without the camp bearing his reproach." 
Approaching, then, our verses 4-8 from the point of view now 
ascertained, and with the understanding of the Author's choice 
of terms just stated, we have a clue to his meaning, and may form 
a just opinion of the terms he employs. The application of the cri- 
terion, thus aflPorded, will quickly decide whether it is a correct one. 
The direct affirmation of vers. 4—8 is that: it is impossible to 
renew again to repentance persons whose character the Author 
describes. Impossible [aSuvazo-^) is an unequivocal expression 
that admits of no mitigation in sense, such as i " very difficult ;" * 
' See authors cited in Alford. 

vi. 4, 5. J TOU9 a~a^ <fuJTt(T>'^ivTa<^. 191 

or, impossible in sensn forcns^i.^ It must be taken absolutely. 
But the notion expressed bv : renew again to repentance oltviously 
requires for its understanding a clear notion of the situation 
referred to by again. For it expresses reinstatement again in a 
position previously described. That situation is represented in 
the terms that describe the persons referred to previous to the 
^condition that is declared to be incapable of renewal again to 
repentance. Tliese persons are dcscrib(>d as : those having been 
once enlightened and having tasted the heavenly gift and having 
become companions of a holy spirit and having tasted a good word 
of God and powers of a world to come. These participial clauses 
we construe as follows : ^ the article row? belongs to <fturtfr>'ti'^Ta? 
alone, and does not extend to the following participles. This is 
necessitated by the arra^ = once, which is quite proper as qualify- 
ing enlightened, but has no propriety as applied to experiences 
described by tasting, and becoming companions of a holy spirit. 
Enlightenment is an experience which, when it comes, is a thing 
done ; while tasting is something that involves repeated applica- 
tion. Moreover, the re, that adjoins the following participial 
expressions to (fivTCfr'^i^ra?, denotes that they are not coordinate 
expressions with it,"* but added as expressing notions involved in 
the fact of having been once enlightened. And this rs, with the 
two following participial expressions conjoined by xa] — xa), leads 
up to the adversative xai ■KapaTts(7<)VTa<;* (ver. 6). 

So construed, the most significant term before us is : those 
having been once enlightened. By ^wrt'^etv is meant simply "to 
inform " or " give intelligence " of any thing, so that what one 
was ignorant of he is made to know,^ and where he was in the 
dark he is made to see as in the light. What one was made to 
know and see is not here expressed. But the expression is used 
absolutely as at x. 32, as though the matter of enlightenment 
must be understood. The logical coimection of x. 26, 32 shows 
that illumination in " the knowledge of the truth " is what is 
meant. And the whole tenor of our epistle, as well as the pre- 

> Jer. Taylor : Doctrine and Practice of Eejientance ix. ? 4. 

''With von Ilof. 'See Winer, Gramra. pp. 434, 43r). 

* So von ITof. * Conip. Eph. iii. 9. 


sent context and the context at x. 26, makes it plain, that the 
Apostle has particularly in mind the knowledge of what was the 
intent of Christ's sacrificial death on the cross, and the efficacy of 
" the blood of the covenant " there shed to sanctify believers. 
As has been already noted, the Apostle appropriately says : once 
{ar.a'=) enlightened, because seeing is in its nature something that 
occurs once for all. What one sees is henceforth to him a visible 
thing.' But by expressing the fact, the Apostle means to note 
that what the persons he describes do, viz., " crucifying," etc., 
(ver. 6 b), they do against light and knowledge, and not as if 
the enlightenment were again " swallowed up by the prev^ious 
darkness." ^ 

To the "enlightening" the Apostle adjoins (by t£ — y.a\ — 
three other experiences that are involved in the former as attend- 
ants on it. The first of these is : and having tasted the heavenly 
gift. It is misleading to suppose that this expresses something 
subsequent to the experience denoted by : " having been enlight- 
ened." Influenced thus, expositors have named a variety of 
things as being intended by the heavenly gift, such as remission 
of sins, joy and peace in believing, the Lord's supper, etc.^ It is 
not a different thing from what is referred to bv : " having; been 
enlightened," that the Apostle means. In Eph. iii. 7-9, Paul 
names the gospel " of which he w'as made a minister, according 
to the gift (jr^v 8u)p-d-?) of the grace of God which w^as given (r^? 
8u)f^ei(jy^<i) unto him according to the M'orking of his power (t?;? 
duvdfieaxs adrou),'' as that by wliose preaching he was to enlighten 
(jiptoTitTat) all men. And here the gift has the same meaning with 
reference to the " enlightening," * and expresses that the knowl- 
edge of the truth was a gracious gift ; while heavenly, as is 
always the meaning of iTzoupdvco'?,^ expresses that it was a matter 
revealed from God and not before or by other means known on 
earth.^ But the principal notion of the clause before us, and 
what constitutes the progress of thought, is not in the expres- 
sion " the heavenly gift," but in yeuffa/xivnu? = having tasted. This 

' Comp. Davidson. * Against Del. ^ See in Alford. 

* Comp. John iv. 10, and Lindsay. * Comp. John iii. 12, 13. 

» Comp. Eph. iii. 5, 9. 


denotes a practical experience, attending tlie knowledge received, 
that verifies the reality of the latter. It is thus that the Aj)ostle 
Peter uses the same expression : " If ye have tasted that the 
Lord is gracious." ^ 

The next trait that is mentioned of the persons described is : 
and having become companions of a Holy Spirit. We can see no 
sufficient reason for not rendering /yiro^^o^ - companion - here as 
we have done i. 9 ; iii. 14. The word occurs in the New Testa- 
ment only Luke v. 7, beside in our epistle, where it is used i. 9 ; 
iii. 1, 14; vi. 4; xii. 8. In all these places "companions" or 
" partners " gives a good meaning, while in most of them no 
other meaning is admissible. In the LXX. ^ this is the com- 
mon meaning. Where /xiTo^o? is joined with a su])stantive in 
the genitive denoting a person, then companion is the most 
obvious meaning. It is only because there is a mystical com- 
munion between Christ and believers, and the Holy Spirit and 
believers, that we find it possible to understand iiiroxo^, when 
joined with those names in the genitive, as meaning " partaker," 
in the sense of receiving something of them. In anv other per- 
sonal connection, as : /liroj^o? iytu eiiu -Kdvzwv TU)v (/ioj3ou;j.iviov <ts* 

that meaning would be impossible. Thus, though " partakers 
of the Holy Spirit," in the sense of receiving of the self-impar- 
tation of the Holy Spirit, is a correct notion, Ave may doubt 
whether psr. m^ dyiou is intended as the expression of it. 
Certainly we are justified in understanding it to express tliat we 
are companions of the Holy Spirit, if we find elsewlicre the evi- 
dence that this was a familiar notion. Of this there is evidence 
enough.^ The leader of Christians is the Holy Spirit, for "as 

' 1 Pet. ii. 3. "^ Wyclif translated the Vulg., ■partinpv^ = partners. 

' See Schlensuer, Lex. V. T., .vib. voc. * Ps. oxviii. C3. 

* Comp. Neh. ix. 20, "Thou gavest also thy good Spirit to instruct them, 
and withheldest not tliy manna from their mouth, and gavest them waters for 
their thirst." Isa. Ixiii. 10-12, " But they rebelled and vexed his Ploly Spirit; 
therefore he turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them. . , . Then 
he remembered the days of old, Moses and his people, sayins:^ : Where is he 
that put his Holy Spirit within him?" Hag. ii. 5, ''According to the word 
that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my Spirit reniain- 
eth among you ; fear ye not." Acts vii. 51, " Ye stiff-necked and uncircum- 


194 TASTING A GOOD WORD OF GOD [vi. 4, 5. 

many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of 
God." ^ Taking, then, the Apostle's meaning to be, that the per- 
sons described became companions of a Holy Spirit, and compar- 
ing the texts given in the foot note, we suppose that here, as at 
iii. 14, when he says: "we are become companions of Christ," 
he intimates a parallel with the experience of those in the wilder- 
ness, who were also led by the Spirit, and thus were his com- 
panions as they were the companions of Moses their human 
leader. When he says companions of a Holy Spirit {without the 
article) he leaves the word Holy emphatic, as laying stress on 
what kind of a spirit attended them.^ This much enhances the 
sin of "rebelling against and vexing" that Spirit. 

The next expression is : and having tasted a good word of God 
and powers of a coming world. We have no hesitation, such as 
is expressed by others,^ in understanding this expression to have 
been chosen with reference to the situation in the wilderness. 
Taken with the foregoing expression relating to the leading of 
the Spirit, the present expression displays a close parallel to the 
following words from Deut. viii. 2, 3, " And thou shalt remem- 
ber all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty 
years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to 
know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldst keep his 
commandments or no. And ... he fed thee with manna, . . . 
that he might make thee know thatr- man doth not live by 
bread only, but by every (word) that proceedeth out of the 
mouth of the Lord doth man live (ctti navri pTj;j.aTc rw Uitopeuonivut 

When we find such parallelism of thought along with such 
identity of language, and that with reference to an Old Testa- 

cised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost, as j'our fathers 
did, so do ye." Heb. ix. 8, " The Holy Ghost this signifying that the way 
into the holiest was not yet made manifest." Ps. cxliii. 10, " Teach me to do 
thy will ; for thou art my God ; thy Spirit is good ; lead me into the land of 
uprightness." Isa. xlviii. 16, 17, " The Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent 
me. ... I am the Lord tliy God which leadeth thee by the way thou shouldst 
go." John xvi. 13, " When he, the Spirit of truth is come, he shall guide 
you into all the truth." 

^ Eom. viii. 14 ; comp. Gal. v. 18. "^ So von Hof ^ See Alford. 

vi. 4, 5.] AND POWERS OF A WORLD TO COME. 195 

ment passage so familiar to Jews as was that passage of Dent, 
viii., we Deed feel no more hesitation in supposing it to be 
intended than we do when, in Christian discourse, we meet with 
a fragment of the Lord's Prayer or of the Apostle's Creed. As 
representing a Christian notion, havings tasted ^ signifies, as in 
ver. 4, the test of actual experience, in reference to the word 
{^T,!i(jt) of God. As for the latter, the words of Josh. xxi. 43,^ 
show how the contemporaries of Moses understood the expres- 
sion as he used it, Deut. viii. 3. Joshua said: oo dd-smv d-d 

Ttavrcuv rwv /5i^;j.dT0Jv rmv xaXwv wv iXdXrjffe xupcog = " there did not 

fail anything of the good words that the Lord spoke." For 
Joshua, the nvjuri nn^ of God was the promise of the land of 
Canaan, And that promise was the better manna that sustained 
such life as his in the wilderness ; and every demonstration of 
the truth of the promise before its fulfillment was tasting that 
word. For Jeremiah and Zachariah "■ the good word of God " 
meant another thing suited to their time ; but it was a promise! 
also.^ Our Author says : a good word (without the article), by 
which he emphasizes the quality of what he refers to, and also 
adapts an expression drawn from the ancient situation to the 
Christian situation, signifying that what he refers to, though not 
"the good word," was a good word of the same kind. It is a 
word of promise he means. What the promise relates to is inti- 
mated by the following clause closely adjoined by rs : and powers 
of a world to come. So adjoined, and thus dependent upon 
having tasted, the notion thus expressed forms part of the notion 
of the preceding expression. And the ancient parallel lielps us 
to understand the relation of the two notions. The miracle of 
the manna was the demonstration of the truth of that word 
of promise that was the real livelihood of those in the wilder- 
ness. By experiencing that and other works of power they 
tasted the good word that supported their hopes; in other words, 
had the proof of an actual experience to assure them and make 

* That -yevaa/i is followed in this instance by the accns., instead of the peni- 
tive as in ver. 4, according: to common nsapje, has had no better reason assigned 
than the desire to avoid accumulations of genitives. 

'Comp. Josh, xxiii. 15. 'Jer. xxix. 10; xxxiii. 14; Zcch. i. 13. 

196 ■Kapanimztv. [vi. 6. 

tliem steadfast in obedience. The persons the Apostle describes had 
also a good word of God, whose truth and reliability were simil- 
arly demonstrated by their tasting powers of a world to come, to 
which that word as a promise referred. By powers the Apostle 
means miraculous demonstrations, such as he refers to ii. 4. 
Describing them as : of a world to come, he signifies that the good 
word refers to things of a future world, the meaning we have 
already obtained from the parallelism involved in the expression 
itself. By world {aim.') is meant the same as ol/Moiiivrj iiilXousa 
(ii. 5), but here considered temporally as an age. " This world 
to come is not only an object of promise. Its marvelous powers 
are tasted even here. They are a prelude and foretaste vouch- 
safed already of that future redemption which is still in progress. 
The world to come has not yet appeared, but is already present 
as the hidden background of the world that now is, waiting for 
its manifestation, and perpetually breaking through the crust 
that confines it." ^ 

Having now sufficiently described the previous condition of the 
persons referred to, the Apostle adds the adversative : and having 
fallen away, which describes their present position. The word 
TtapaTzi-Tui does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. But 
it is used by the LXX. not seldom, especially to render b;?D, 
with the meaning to " transgress, trespass." ^ It is in Ezekiel ^ that 
the LXX. most frequently use our verb, with its cognate noun 
Tzapd-KXioiia. And it is at least remarkable that it is in a context 
that represents precisely the same severe truth that the Apostle is 
affirming here. " But when the righteous turneth aAvay from his 
righteousness, and committeth iniquity . . . shall he live ? All 
his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned ; in 
his trespass that he hath trespassed . . . shall he die {h rS> 

■Kapa-zmiiart abroo w T.apir.zaz . . . d-::o>'}avsl.Tai).^^ ^ Nor is it tO be 

overlooked that in the same connection Ezekiel uses imagery that 
resembles the comparison of our verses 7, 8. " Son of man, 
when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grieviously 
{y7i Tj idv diidprrj hoc ruu Tzapaizeatlv -apd-Twtj.a), then Will I stretch 

' Del. ^ Comp. Grotius. 

' Ezek. xiv. 13 ; xv. 8; xviii. 24, 26 ; xx. 27. * Ezek. xviii. 24. 

vi. 6.1 dyaxaivi^etv. 197 

out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread 
thereof, etc." ^ " As the vine tree among the trees of the forest 
which I have given to the fire for fuel, so will I give the inhabit- 
ants of Jerusalem . . . They shall go out from one fire and 
another fire shall devour them. . . And I will make the land 
desolate, because they have committed a trespass (xm Suxtuj rijv 

yr^v £i9 d(pa>t(TiJ.vv avV tuv napiiTeffov naparrr^^ ^ It doCS not 

seem likely that these coincidences of thought and expression, 
beside the mere use of the word Ttapa-KiTzru)^ could have escaped 
the notice of an expositor like Grotius, and through him of 
other's since.^ But though they have been made no account of 
by others, we cannot resist the conviction that they influenced 
the Apostle in writing our present context, and that we may 
refer to these representations in Ezekiel to settle, not only the 
meaning of the word Tzapa-i~., but also the doctrine here set 
forth. Consequently, we may understand the having fallen away 
to mean a deflection from Christianity like that of the Jews 
when, in Canaan, they turned to worship the idols of the coun- 
try. This is something more specific than mere transgression in 
general. It is in fact apostasy.* 

Of the persons so defined, the Apostle aflirms : it is impossible 
to renew them again to repentance. He says again {j:dXi^^) in 
antithesis to the " once" (vcr. 4), because the renewing would be 
a deed that would be a repetition of a former deed, seeing they 
had already once been what that deed would make them. By 
renewing {/'^si-?) is not meant regeneration.^ It is not an 
accident that the Author uses (haxaivi'^ev^ and not (haxaiyouv.^ The 
former must be viewed as a synonym of ^Tzcff-picfsiv = " to turn 
one," as in Lam. v. 21. The latter is a word of Paul's making 
to denote the Christian truth of " the redemptive activity of God, 
corresponding to the creation of man, which, by putting an end 
to his existing corrupt state, constitutes a new beginning." ^ 
" Closely combined with ei"? psTdvomv, dvavxuivi^stv denotes a 
restoration out of the present state of the sinner into which he 
has fallen by his sin, in the direction of a change of mind that is 

» Ezek. xiv. 1.3. '^ Ezek. xv. 6-8. ^ Comp. Lindsay. * See Grotius. 
* Against Alford, with von Hof. ® von Hof. ' Cremer, Lex., svh voc. 

198 avaaraupouvra^ iaurotg. [yi. 6. 

thereby achieved. The change of mind must be return from the 
wrong way, which it is the sin of the sinner to have taken, and 
return to the way he left." ^ 

We should note that the Apostle says : it is impossible to 
renew to repentance, not that it is impossible for them to repent. 
It is common to discourse on tliis passage as if the latter were 
affirmed, or at least involved in what is affirmed. But nothing 
of the kind is affirmed. The Apostle speaks of the characters in 
question as the objects of efforts that others might make with 
reference to their repentance, and as they might be affected by 
such efforts. And what he says is with special reference to the 
efforts he expresses himself as ready to make on their behalf, 
ver. 3. This distinction very seriously affects what the Apostle 
is commonly supposed to teach in our passage. 

It is impossible to effect this, says the Apostle. Why this is 
so is more particularly indicated in the following clause and by 
the comparison of vers. 7, 8. But primarily it appears in the 
antithesis once (ver. 4) and again. Not that : having been once 
enlightened expresses something that was by intention a once-for- 
all that would not be repeated. But enlightenment is by its 
nature something that is once for all, and thus excludes a re-en- 
lightenment. To this must be added the explanation that fol- 
lows : it is impossible, the while ^ they crucify to themselves the 
Son of God and put him to an open shame. We need not take the 
dvd in composition here as meaning " afresh." It means " up," 
and refers to the lifting up on the cross by which one is cruci- 
fied.^ The rendering: " afresh " rather mars than enhances the 
force of what is said. For the persons referred to did not before 
crucify Christ, and so their present doing would not for them be 
doing the same thing afresh. And, though crucifying him who 
had been crucified would be doing it again, that does not need to 
be stated.* It is iaurmg that is emphatic, and the double point 
of what is affirmed is, that "they hang Him up on the cross, 
where for their part they would have him ;" ^ and that it is the 
Son of God whom they so crucify ; by which glorious name is 

* von Hof. ^ Version 1881, margin. 

' Grotius, von Hof. * Comp. Davidson. * von Hof. 

vi. 6.] Ttapaihiyfiari^ovra^. 199 

not only indicated the greatness of the crime as an outward fact, 
but also that He whom they crucify is known to be such, for 
they have been enlightened. Doing so they put him to an open 
shame ; " they expose him to view as one who got his due when 
He was crucified. For by turning their back on Him, they 
declare Him to have been deserving of that which the Jews did 
to Him, and repeat the act as far as it is now possible to 
do so." * 

What is now stated of the persons referred to is not an inter- 
pretation of what is the spirit and meaning of the falling away 
itself after having been enligtened.^ The present participle 
a'^a(T-au[)(>T)v-a<i, separated from -af>aT,z(j6v~aq (aorist) by the expres- 
sion izdXv^ . . . iierf'vMHa'j, cannot be so construed. It describes 
the present doing of those that have fallen away. It was not a 
past action, viz., that they apostatized (aorist), that makes the 
impossibility, but the present action in the situation to which 
falling away brought them. It is that present doing that makes 
the impossihiliiy of renewing the doers to repentance.^ Enlight- 
ened, as they once were, and doing this in their enlightenment, it 
is impossible to renew in them those exjjeriences that formerly 
attended their enlightenment. The doing itself, apart from its 
great guilt, made it impossible ; for it is the preaching of Christ 
crucified that effects repentance, and those that are themselves 
crucifying Him cannot experience that power of the cross.* 

There is, indeed, a subjective condition in such persons that 
makes repentance impossible. But in the case here presented it 
amounts to this : that it is impossible for them to be influenced 
in opposite directions by the same thing at the same time. While 
they are crucifying Christ, the cross of Christ cannot crucify them 
to the world or dead works.* 

Delitzsch, opposing this interpretation as given by von Hof- 
mann, objects : " that it amounts to the identical proposition, 
that it is impossible to renew to repentance persons that have 

^ Grotius, von Ilof. ^ Against Alford, etc 

* So Harless in his : Cliristliche Ethik, 4te Aufl., p. 130 sq. ; von Hof. ; Fai^ 
rar, ch. xviii. ? 3, Wordsworth. 

*Comp. X. 26. SQal. vi. 14. 

200 A LAND THAT IS BLESSED. [vi. 7, 8. 

once fallen away, so long as they do not repent." But this is 
gratuitous mystification. It would have some color if the 
affirmation were: it is impossible for them to repent. But as 
the present representation relates to what others may do for their 
repentance, it has none. " Ephraim is joined to idols ; let him 
alone" (Hos. iv. 17); may that too be resolved into the identi- 
cal proposition? We are, moreover, to bear in mind, that 
repentance here is a particular notion, defined by the representa- 
tions of vers, 4, 5. It is renewal to the condition there described, 
and from which the persons have fallen away. That is impos- 
sible while they are virtually crucifying Christ. 

But, moreover, the guilt of their doing and the wilful per- 
versity of wickedness it reveals is a reason for the impossibility of 
effecting the repentance of persons referred to.^ For the Apostle 
has said : " if God permit " (ver. 3), and it is more important, 
as it is ultimately all-determining, how God is affected by what the 
persons described do, than how they are subjectively affected. 
And the Apostle proceeds (vers. 7, 8) to represent the part of 
God in the situation described. This he does by a simile that is 
almost a parable.^ 

Ver. 7. For land which hath drunk the rain which cometh oft 
upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for those for whose sake it 
is also tilled, receiveth blessing from God ; 8. but bearing thorns 
and thistles it is worthless and nigh unto a curse, whose end is for 

Let it be noted that what is meant to be expressed in the first 
part of this parable is, that the land brings forth to those for 
whose sake it is tilled, i. e., the owners, and the xai ystupYeJrai calls 
attention to their labor, and what it is for, as added to the influ- 
ence of the rain, and thus as deserving this return. On the 
other hand, that God blesses the land denotes the interest He has in 
it, looking for it to be what His rains were intended to make it. 

What answers to these traits of the parable is : those that 
receive the gospel : God that sends it : and the teachers who 
impart it, such as e.g., the Apostle who writes.^ In the second 

* Against von Hof., with Liin., Del., Alford. 

* Comp. Davidson. ^ So Alford. 

vi. 7, 8.] A LAND NIGH UNTO A CURSE. 201 

part of the parable the land is supposed to have the same raiu 
and labor given to it as in the first. And we must understand 
God to be the one who shall say whether the land is to be cursed 
or not.^ For the one that blesses must be also the one that 
curses. The denial of His blessing would be a curse. Besides, 
it is not an estate that is meant, but a widespread territory or 
country, as is suggested by the traits of rain and many {hsc^uT?) 
inhabitants or owners, and God blessing it. Thus, it cannot be 
the owners that devote the land to burning, as might be in the 
case of a single estate. Nothing can be further from the Author's 
thought than the notion of burning over ground to improve its 

Paraphrasing, then, the parable in the terms of the realities it 
is meant to illustrate, it expresses that those who enjoy such 
advantages as the persons described, vers. 4, 5, and who yield the 
proper fruit to such as the Apostle, that are sent to teach them, 
shall receive God's blessing. But those who, with the same 
advantages, yield, not only no good fruit, but the very opposite, viz., 
of apostasy : are mgh. unto a curse, whose end is for burning. 
With the majority of expositors, we understand the whose (fii) 
to refer to the land. As applied to the persons whose case is 
illustrated, the burning means a destruction, fearful and com- 
plete, as burning.'^ It is commonly thought * that the Apostle's 
language in this parable is prompted by a reminiscence of Deut. 
xxix. 22, 23. But in view of the evidences adduced above 
under ver. 6, there is more reason to think he was influenced by 
the passages in Ezekiel there cited. Or, perhaps, we should 
recognize a reminiscence of both Old Testament passages. 

The Apostle says of the land of thorns, that it is nigh unto a 
curse, and we may suppose that the additional clause means that 
if actually cursed it will be devoted to burning. But being 
nigh unto a curse denotes that the judgment impends.^ It also 
denotes, however, that it has not yet fallen, and thus far it is not 
certain that burning is the end of that land, or, properly, that 
destruction is the end of the persons referred to. The judgment 

' Against von ITof. ' Against Stuart. •"* Comp. x. 27. 

* See in Alford. ° Comp. kyyvQ dfavia/iov, viii. 13. 

202 DOCTRixE OF VI. 3-8. [vi. 7, 8. 

is near ; ^ It clepeuds upon the time ; it depends upon whether 
God will permit or not permit those concerned to escape. In 
this contingency the Apostle contemplates only those that by 
profession were Christians. For Jewish opposers of the prom- 
ised Christ there was no contingency. Regarding the fact of an 
" apostasy from the living God " ^ there was no contingency. 
But, as w^e have seen at iii. 13, contingency of being taken or 
not taken in the judgment that would overtake the apostasy did 
exist for those the Apostle refers to. For those, too, that had 
really apostatized there may be still a possibility of return. But 
it hangs on this : " if God permit " (ver. 3). 

We may sum up the doctrine taught in our passage ver. 3-8, 
thus : 

Those enlightened as described vers. 4, 5, may apostatize. Yet, 
as such, they may be the subject of efforts to renew them to 
repentance. Thus they must be regarded as persons that may 

The condition of apostates may be such that it is impossible to 
renew them to repentance ; not in itself as such apostasy, but 
while in that condition the apostate does what is virtually cruci- 
fying the Son of God, and putting Him to an open shame. The 
impossibility is primarily because they are rejecting the very 
thing that effects repentance, viz., the Cross of Christ. 

But chiefly, the renewing to repentance is a matter that is ulti- 
mately subject to God's will. And the times He has set for 
judgment will show whether or not He will permit it. Let 
God's destroying judgment come while apostates are doing what 
now makes their renewal to repentance impossible, then what is 
now impossible becomes forever impossible. 

"We see in this only doctrine that is common to all the inspired 
writers both of the Old and of the New Testament. We find ^ 
no expression here to the effect that the sinners described have 
reached a state that is essentially reprobate, and inveterate, and 
hopeless of repentance, independent of circumstance or extended 
time.* Such a situation might justly be identified with the 
unpardonable sin, as Delitzsch does identify it. But such a 

1 Comp. V. 12 ; X. 25. Mii. 12. MVith Davidson. * Against Del. 

vi. 7, 8.] DOCTRINE OF VI. 3-8. 203 

situation no more admits of being plied with teaching, where it 
is known, than of being the subject of prayer.^ We would not, 
therefore, find the Apostle saying he would under any circum- 
stance press persons of that condition with teaching, as he does 
propose (ver. 3) to do, if God permit, with the persons that are 
for the present in the condition he represents. Such a reprobate 
condition, as many suppose to be described in our passage, would 
be one concerning which God has made known His will, viz., 
that there shall be no forgiveness for it. If, then, the Apostle 
meant to describe such a state of sin, he would not say : " if God 
permit," seeing it would be a case wherein God's will was clearly 
revealed that he would not permit. Our passage, therefore, does 
not describe : " the sin against the Holy Ghost " (Matt. xii. 
31, 32). 

It obviates all mystification here, if we hold fast to the Apostle's 
aim in writing. He presents the gospel as salvation from the word 
spoken by angels, and from its attendant punishment of trans- 
gression in which all were in peril of being involved (ii. 3-4). The 
condition of enlightenment represented in vers. 4, 5, is intelligence 
of that salvation, with experience that demonstrates the truth of it. 
The effect of the conviction of the truth of that salvation is to 
forsake trust in dead works. The renewal to repentance is rein- 
statement in that situation of enlightenment with its attendant 
conviction of the truth of such salvation. Repentance in that 
form was impossible for those that were virtually crucifying 
Cltrist. Let the same persons be brought to look on Christ as 
the Son of God speaking God's word of salvation to them ; that 
will not be renewal to repentance in the sense of our passage ; 
but it will present the possibility of it. From that they may be 
brought to see that in Christ's work is their salvation, and not in 
the practices of Judaism. That would be repentance from dead 

Our passage represents the possibility of such as are describeil 
in vers. 4, 5, falling away and being finally lost. The much 
debated question is : do vers. 4, 5, describe regenerate Christians f 
Many hold that they do, and some ^ think this so obvious, that 

1 1 John V. 16. ^ e. g., Del., Alford. 

204 DOCTRINE OF VI. 3-8. [vi. 7, 8. 

they regard those that affirm the contrary as past reasoning with. 
For the most part expositors have taken that view or the oppo- 
site, according to their dogmatic position. 

In answering this question, we may say, first of all, that we 
see that the Apostle identifies the Christian situation that he 
describes with that of those in the wilderness, as he does in the 
representations of iii. 7-19. And further, he seems to identify 
it with the situation described in Ezek. xviii. 24. Yet whether 
he does the latter or not, we are justified in so identifying it. In 
the latter case, the righteousness, which, if persevered in, would 
have been the righteous man's salvation, is made no account of 
if he turn from his righteousness. He shall perish. In the 
case in the wilderness, the subjects of divine promises and of 
miraculous aid, who had also committed themselves to divine 
guidance and rejoiced in divine favor, actually fell away and 
were destroyed. Thus we see that our passage presents nothing 
unique. And it evidently pretends to nothing of the kind. It 
only represents the dealings of providence in the way that runs 
all through the sacred writings. The problems presented Jiere 
are therefore not peculiar. But, in the second place, "Ave may 
answer the above question by pointing to the Apostle's own 
decision of it, which is involved in what he pointedly affirms of 
those who represented this matter in the wilderness. He says of 
them : " the word of the report did not profit those not being 
mingled by faith witli those that heard," (iv. 2.) Whatever dis- 
agreement there may be in explaining this sentence as a whole, 
there is no disagreement in this, that it affirms that it was want of 
faith that made the word of promise unprofitable to those referred 
to. Because they were without faith they sinned, and provoked, 
and embittered, and were disobedient, and perished. And this 
want of faith is affirmed of them with relation to their situation 
of highest privilege, and when their conduct was such that, had 
they persevered in it, they would have inherited what was 
promised. It affirms, then, that they might have all that, and 
be all that, and yet be without faith. And our Author himself 
says : " without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto 
God, (xi. 5.) We conclude then that they were not regenerate. 

vi. 9.] DOCTRINE OF YI. 3-8 205 

We conclude, also, that neither does the Author mean that the 
privileged condition he describes vers. 4, 5, and identifies with 
the situation in the wilderness, should represent a regenerate state. 
In fact, the present inquiry is out of place with regard to repre- 
sentations in the present epistle. For the point of view from 
which it is written is, that the the readers are in danger. And 
the proof of being truly Christian, and so really saved, that the 
Author demands for the situation, is expressed thus : " We are 
companions of Christ if we hold fast the beginning of our con- 
fidence firm to the end," (iii. 14 ; comp, iii. 6.) And the same con- 
tinues as the only criterion that the Author urges to the last, with 
not a little reiteration. We meet it again in the next breath, vers. 1 1 , 
12. It receives an expression fitted to throw light on the above in- 
quiry at X. 35-39, especially in the words : " But we are not of them 
that shrink back unto perdition ; but of them that have faith unto 
the saving of the soul." This is a perfectly explicit denial that 
those that are lost ever had evangelical faith. It is the Apostle 
that makes it. It must determine his meaning in our passage, 
and is conclusive, that by the terms of vers. 4. 5, he does not 
mean to describe those " that have faith vmto t}\e saving of the 
soul.*" Whether they have that faith or not, in addition to what 
they are there described to have experienced, can appear only in 
the event, according as they hold fast as they have begun (iii. 14), 
or cast away their boldness (x. 35). Our epistle does not repre- 
sent the doctrine of regeneration, and therefore has no expres- 
sion of the relation of faith and regeneration.^ This, of course, 
must not be taken advantage of one way or other. But it is 
taking no advantage of this silence to draw from the teaching 
of the New Testament scriptures that does define the relation of 
faith and regeneration. That teaching is positive enough, that 
when there is no faith that is unto salvation there has been no 

The Apostle now turns to his readers, and expressly intimates 
that in them he has in mind another sort of persons than those 
referred to vers. 3-8. 

Ver. 9. But we are persuaded concerning^ you, beloved, the 

^ Comp. Riehm, p. 710. ^ Comp. below, on ver. 10. 


better things, and that accompany salvation, though we thus 

The Apostle does not elsewhere in our epistle address his read- 
ers by the term beloved. This makes the present use of the 
designation the more remarkable. It is prompted, we may sup- 
pose, by the seriousness of the foregoing representations. He 
turns from the repulsive picture he has been constrained to por- 
tray, and relieves his feelings and those of his readers by this 
endearing term. By this, and by what he expressly affirms of 
those here addressed in the second person, it is evident that they 
are distinguished from those just described in the third person. 
Of those now addressed, he says, he is persuaded the better things 
(rd xp£t(T(Toi'a), meaning that he has a strong conviction that the 
better things appertain to them. We translate : the better 
things, because of the article which points more than a mere 
comparison with the evil things just, described. The Apostle 
does not mean merely something better than the case of the per- 
sons described, vers. 4—8, but something definite that is the 
special antithesis of that, and thus, in an exclusive way, better. 
We have noted at i. 4 how the word better touches a key note of 
this epistle, and for the reasons given there, think that here also 
the expression : the better things, especially as emphasized by 
the article, refers to those important things wherein the betterness 
of the Christian revelation appears in comparison with the Old 
Testament covenant ministered by angels. It confirms this view 
when the better things are further defined as the things that accom- 
pany salvation. For we have seen, at ii. 3, that salvation is con- 
templated by the Author especially in the light of deliverance 
from the consequences of the word spoken by angels, and even 
from subjection to that word itself. These better things are the 
particular antithesis of the bad things represented vers. 3-8 con- 
cerning those whose apostasy was precisely a return to dead 
works. The Apostle gives us the ground of the conviction : 

Ver. 10. For God is not unjust to forget your work and the love 
which ye showed toward his name, in that ye ministered to the 
saints and still minister. 

By this the Apostle expresses that his conviction regarding 

vi. 10.] GOD IS NOT UNJUST. 207 

his readers is founded on what he believes must be the attitude 
of God toward them. In this, his sentiment is the correlative 
of what he has shown it to be regarding the opposite sort of per- 
sons, of whom and ^^■hose case he judged in tlie liglit of what 
God miglit permit (ver. 3). In this case he bases his inference 
on the justice of God ; for God is not unjust, he says, intimating 
that what is expressed in the following words would be unjust. 
And obviously, underlying the representations of vers. 4—8, 
related as they are to the expression " if God permit " (ver. 3), 
there is a similar inference from the justice of God. In both the 
severity and the goodness thus inferred from the justice of God, 
the Apostle furnishes us an impressive example of how we ought 
to do the same with God's justice. 

This conviction (viz., that the " better things and that accom- 
pany salvation " are for his readers) being founded on God and 
His attitude toward them, shows that what the Apostle intends 
by : " the better things " cannot, by any means, be something sub- 
jective in the hearers themselves.^ They are what may be ex- 
pected from the justice of God, and therefore better things of His 
dispensation. Better things, as regards conduct, would not be a 
matter of conviction to express by T:e-si(7iJ.ef^a, especially in the same 
breath that refers to such conduct as a matter of observation and 
well known. Such reference the Apostle makes, and thus expresses 
the second premise of his conclusion. The readers had ministered 
to the saints and still ministered. It is impossible to determine 
geographically who the saints were that are here referred to, and 
equally impossible to say precisely what was the ministry. The 
similar reference x. 32-34 represents a situation and experience 
that were common to many times and places in the first age of 
the church. Our verse, therefore, throws no light on the ques- 
tion : to whom was the epistle addressed?^ We may only 
confidently infer, that these ministrations were to those suffering 
loss and persecution for Christ's sake. Such as the ministry 
was, the Apostle declares that it was work and love showed to 
the name of God. In that quality it warranted an inference from 
the justice of God. God would not forg-et this. It would be 
' Against Liin., Alford, etc. ' Sec Del. 


such forgetting, did God not extend to them " the better things 
and that pertain to salvation " : such is the direct implication of 
the Apostle's words. And this that he expresses is virtually 
the antithesis of the : " if God permit " of ver. 3, and is the 
Author's warrant that God does permit what he proposes for his 
readers ver. 1. Moreover, we may reflect, that the expression 
before us, vers. 9, 10, plainly intimates, and very nearly expresses, 
the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints in the same form 
as the Apostle does in Phil. i. 6, 7. " Being confident (Tze-oo'/u)^) 
of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will 
perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ ; even as it ig right 
(Sixaio'J) for me to be thus minded on behalf of you all." And 
the resemblance would be still closer were we to read on : 
" Because [ye have me in your heart], ^ inasmuch as, both in my 
bonds and in the defence of the gospel, ye are all partakers with 
me of grace." 

The Apostle's confidence concerning his readers is not based 
on the present evidences of their lives, as v. 11-14 shows. But 
spite of that declension, and on the ground of convincing evidences 
that appeared when they were first enlightened (x. 32), he is 
confident that God will dispense to them the things that belong 
to salvation. But His expression of confidence stops short of 
the expression Phil. i. 6, 7, in that it does not anticipate the 
"■ perfecting." But this may be only because the situation, so 
different from that of the Philippians, calls for earnest admoni- 
tion to persevere, and thus excludes that expression as unbefitting 
the present task. With the confidence, as far as expressed, the 
present duty is to incite the readers to diligence and patience in 
faith to the end. With this thought the Apostle proceeds : 

Ver. 11. But we desire that each one of you may show the same 
diligence with regard to the full assurance of the hope until the 

The Apostle would have them show the same diligence in 
another matter that they had shown and were showing in minis- 
tering to the saints. And the discipline he proposes for their 
" pressing on to full-groMi:h " itself requires that diligence. 
* Kosenm, Conyebeare, Revision 1881, margin. 


This reference to their first diligence repeats in anotlier form tlie 
notion: "holding fast the beginning of our boldness and the 
glorying of our hope, firm until the end." (iii. 6-14.) The 
Apostle's care extends to each one, great and small, and over- 
looks no one/ It is interesting to notice how, in 2 Cor. viii. 6, 
7 the present exhortation appears in a reversed order, and " the 
abounding in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all ear- 
nestness " (jzurrrj (7-ooSfj) is made the measure of that grace the 
Apostle would have the Corinthian church show in liberally 
ministering to the saints. 

The matter in reference to which the Apostle would have his 
readers show this diligence is : the full assurance of the hope until 
the end. The hope means the same that is meant iii. G, m Inch 
definiteness is expressed by the article (the article having here 
the force of the personal pronoun) ^ and may be rendered : your 
hope.^ It means the substance hoped for, and not the subjective 
act of hoping. The full assurance or entire certainty regarding 
that matter of hope is the subjective thing to which their dili- 
gence should be directed. They ought to reach that certainty 
and abide in it until the end, by which, as at iii. 6, 14, is meant, 
till the goal is reached where there is no longer need for such 
exercise, i. e., when the thing hoped for becomes a thing seen. 

The notion so expressed is doubly amplified, first negatively, 
then positively. 

Ver. 12. In order that ye become not dull, but imitators of 
them who by faith and endurance inherit the promises. 

The Apostle says, v. 11, that they have got dull of hearing ; 
not meaning there, however, that their dullness was only in 
respect of hearing, but that, being dull, they were so of hearing 
as well as in other respects. Speaking now again of their becom- 
ing dull, is no discrepancy with that, that calls on us to suppose 
he means here dullness in another particular, e. g., in respect to 
holding fast to the Christian hope, or in Christian practice.^ 
Dullness, sluggishness, is something that goes on, and its exhi- 
bition at one date and another is treated as genetic, just as is 

1 Chrys. ^ Kiilmer, Gram. TI. 482. 

» So Alford. •• Against Lun., A Iford. 


210^. [vi. 12. 

done also with the reverse of it, viz., the imitation of the good. 
Such imitators the Apostle would have his readers become. 

The thing to be imitated is plain : viz., faith and endurance, 
both which notions, as thus correlated, call for amplification, or 
rather illustrations. But as the Apostle gives this in chap. xi. 
we need not anticipate the consideration of them here. The per- 
sons appealed to as examples of the faith and patience are, as a 
fact of exposition, not so easily identified. Those inheriting the 
promises (roiv ■Arjpovoii.Dijv-ujv ra? i-ay/s^ta?) they are called. The 
present participle forbids our supposing ^ that the Patriarchs are 
meant. On the other hand, the mention of Abraham (ver. 13), 
which is obviously an appeal to one example of the persons to 
be imitated,^ forbids our supposing ^ that only the contemporaries 
of the Apostle and his readers are meant. We must then under- 
stand the expression in a perfectly general way,* without respect 
to time, of those that so inherit promises. 

But for perfect clearness, two other matters require definition : 
(a) what is meant by the promises, in the plural ; (6) and what 
is meant by inheriting the promises. By defining the latter the 
former will become plain. 

The need of defining (6) what the Author means by inheriting 
the promises, arises from his using other phrases which, with our 
present one, are confounded by readers as if they were synonymous, 
yet which, as they are used, have the appearance of contradictions.^ 
Let us notice, then, that (under the verbal form or substantively, 
x/.r]povofie'c>,^ ffuvxkyjpovo/j.eiv,'' xXrjp<)votj.ta,y' the Author expresses a 
relation that is actual, and, so far as it involves possession, is 
actual possession of something received. In this sense Abraham 
is said to receive a promise, and so to be one inheriting a pro- 
mise.* In the same sense this has been^" and now again is, in 
our verse, predicated of many in a general way, including con- 
temporaries of the Apostle. But again, the Author says of the 
Patriarchs and of all the other examples of faith, preceding the 
revelation of Christ, whom he appeals to in chap. xi. that they 

^ As De Wette. * Against von Hof. ' As von Ilof. 

* As Liin., Alford, etc. * See in Bleek the meanings discussed. 

6i. 14; vi., 12; xu. 17. ' xi. 9. ^ ^i. 17 ; xi. 7. ^xi. 19. i»i. 14. 

vi. 12.1 iTziTuy/^avtiv. xo;xi!^£<T>^ac. 211 

" did not receive " [xoiu^u) in the Mid.)^ the promises which they 
are said to have inherited. And also of his readers he mentions 
" the promise " as something yet to be received by them.^ By 
(xo/uUffi'Mc), " receiving," then, the Author means that possession 
that has and bears off in actual enjoyment the substance of what 
is hoped for. That receiving, however, has not come to those 
that are as yet only heirs of the promises. On the other hand, 
the Author says of Abraham : " he obtained the promise," ver. 
15. And similarly he affirms, in general, of those examples of 
faith appealed to in chap, xi., that " they obtained promises." ^ 
By this is meant that, personally and directly, God made a pro- 
mise to them, which was then their promise. These different 
notions, variously expressed, must, therefore, be kept quite dis- 
tinct, and thereby we will avoid much confusion. 

Chief among the notions thus distinguished is that expressed 
by our phrase, inheriting the promises. By this is denoted a 
relation of right and title to the things promised, without actual 
possession and enjoyment.* Such is the relation to the promises 
of those that must show faith and endurance with reference to 

In regard to («,) {i.e., the first of the inquiries named above) 
the promises, in the plural, w^e are not to sujipose that the 
Author means by them the same thing that he means by " the 
promise"^ in the singular. We have noticed that in xi. 33, he 
mentions the examples of faith as having " obtained promises," 
just as, ver. 15, he says Abraham obtained "the promise." As he 
refers to those inheriting^ the promises in a general way, so he 
includes the various promises obtained as the object of their 
enduring faith. Abraham obtained " a promise ;" Moses another, 
viz., of entering God's rest; David another;^ and Christians have 
many exceeding great and precious promises.^ To the promises 
so given, those that obtain them stand related as heirs, having a 
right and title to them, which they show by faith and endurance. 

The Apostle adduces Abraham as an example of those inher- 
iting the promises. 

1 xi. 13, 39. 2 x_ 3g. 3 xj. 33. 4 q^^^^ q^i j^ 1.2. 

' Ver. 17 ; x. 36. « 2 Sam. vii. 4 sqq. ' 2 Pet. i. 4. 

212 GOD SWEARS TO ABRAHAM. [vi. 13-15. 

Ver. 13. For God having made promise to Abraham, since 
He could swear by none greater, He sware by Himself, 14. saying : 
Surely, blessing I wiU bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply 
thee. 15. And thus having patiently endured, he obtained the 

The relation of the participle aorist kTrayyedd/ievog and the fol- 
lowing wfiotrev expresses that, in regard to time, the promising 
antedated the swearing ; ^ just as in the precisely similar con- 
struction of ver. 15, the "patient endurance" antedated the 
" obtaining the promise. " The reference is to the promises, i. e., 
the same for substance repeated, that God had already imparted 
to Abraham, Gen xii. 7; xvii. 5, 6; xviii. 18, and which 
God then, Gen. xxii. 16-18, repeated to him and confirmed by 
an oath.^ From first to last of these transactions embraced a 
considerable period. Since Isaac's birth, for instance, twenty- 
five years had elapsed^ before the occasion when God confirmed 
the foregoing promise by His oath. It is to Abraham's conduct 
during this period that the Apostle appeals as an example of 
faith and patience. It was precisely the critical and determining 
period of his life, from which his life received its character of 
faith, and in which he won the title of " father of all them that 
believe."* Comprehending all this, the Apostle .says: and thus, 
having patiently endured, he obtained the promise. The : and 
thus (x. ouTw?) belongs to : he obtained,^ and not to : having 
endured.® By the promise is meant wliat was previously a 
matter of promise, as expressed by the participle : having promised. 
It is this definite thing that is expressed by the article. By : so he 
obtained is meant, that then Abraham came to possess the thing 
as a promise so as to make it his in a manner that previously 
it was not by the foregoing promising. If it be objected that 
with this meaning, obtaining the promise, as related to having 
promised, expresses no progress of thought,^ we may reply, that 
the same objection might as justly be made to the successive 
transactions themselves. That God should promise, and then 
confirm the same promise by an oath, as signalizing and reward- 

' So de Wette, Liin., von. Hof. ^ Liin. ^ Josephus, Antiq., I. 3, § 2. 

* Kom. iv. 11. * Liin., Alford. ® von Hof. ' So Liin. 

vi. IG.] WHAT OP AN OATH. 213 

ing the faith Abraham showed in oifering up Isaac, is proof 
that, ou God's part, the latter transaction added to those that 
preceded. Moreover, giving in that way the promise that had 
before been promised, was the final act that made Abraham for- 
ever and unalterably the heir of the promise. And it became 
the event to which the posterity of Abraham constantly appealed, 
and also God himself, as their title to be heirs of the same 

Tlie Apostle has incited his readers by motives draicn from the 
examples of faith and patience, thus drawing them from before. 
He proceeds to add another consideration, pressing them by urgency 
from behind. 

Ver. 16. For men, indeed, swear by the greater ; and in every 
dispute of theirs the oath is final for confirmation. 

The progress of thought, we observe here, justifies the reten- 
tion of .viv, against the editors L. Tr., Tisch., viii., W. and H., 
and the Revision of 1881, who drop it; and with Recep. Tisch. 
vii., Del ; Alford, von Hof, de Wette (?) who retain it. 

The Apostle appeals to what is practised among men,^ and 
thus introduces the following consideration, by an argumentum 
ad hominum. That men make oath, and what is the force of 
the oath so sworu (such is the force of the article), is the matter 
presented in this verse. The expression : by the greater only 
completes the description of the oath as made by men, without 
emphasising the antithesis to the way in Avhich God swore, as is 
commonly thought.^ The special point is, that the oath is final, 
and confirms, or makes steadfast, that about which it is made. 
This prepares the way for the important statement that follows. 

Ver. 17. "Wherein God, willing to show more abundantly to 
the heirs of the promise the immutability of His will, interposed 
with an oath ; 18. in order that by two immutable things, in which it 
is impossible for God to lie, we may have strong exhortation, who 
are fleeing, to lay hold of the hope set before us. 

Understanding that the Apostle is adding something different 
from what he presents, vers. 12-15, we find no occasion for 
supposing that God's oath and the promise mentioned here refer 

^ Gen. xxvi. 3; iv. 24 ; Exod. xiii. 5, etc. ^ Conip. ix. 16, 17. ^ Comp. Del. 

214 TWO IMMUTABLE THINGS. [vi. 17, 18. 

to the things similarly named, vers. 13-15. Our verses have 
been commonly so understoood by expositors. But it is far 
from plain what connection there is between the promises given 
to Abraham, mentioned in verse 15, and the promise that sets 
before the Apostle and his readers a hope that enters within 
the vail (ver. 19). The promise of our verse 17 is something the 
readers have " received," and of which they may become the heirs, 
if only they have faith and patience. It sets before them a hope, i. e., 
thing hoped for,^ which is the hope (ver. 18). It is evident that the 
Apostle, in the statement of our verses, has reverted completely to 
the situation of himself and his readers. This relieves us from 
being constrained to find in the iv m nothing more than a " where- 
fore." ^ It means wherein, = " in that wherein ; " ^ and the relative 
refers to all that constituted the subject at verses 11, 12, where 
" promise " and " inherit " express it, and which is now resumed 
in the expression, heirs of the promise. And /SwuAo/Jievo?, /S^uA?;? 
make a paranomasia * that has the eifect of expressing a determin- 
ate purpose ; and so it is intended that the foregoing translation 
shall be understood, the " willing — his will," being used only to 
reproduce the paranomasia of the original. The meaning is : 
God intended to show that his counsel was immutable. 

These considerations require us to identify in the things men- 
tioned, viz., the promise, the oath, and the hope, subjects that the 
Apostle presents as belonging to that situation. These we must 
not find ^ in what is mentioned below, vii. 20-22, as confirmed by 
oath, seeing that could not be understood by the readers to be 
referred to before it was mentioned. We must look back for 
these subjects. We find them all in iv. 1-3; and, taking the 
whole context, iii. 9 — iv. 13, they have been given that promi- 
nence and importance that justifies the Author in expecting his 
present language to recall them. This connection, then, ought 
to have received more than the slight notice taken of it by 

The promise now mentioned (ver. 17) is the promise of entering 

1 See on ver. 11. ^ As e. g., Bleek, Alford. 

» Comp. ii. 18 ; Winer, Gram., p. 387. * Comp. Bleek. 

* As von Hof., Angus. ® See Stuart, Lindsay. 


into God's rest. The heirs of the promise arc those that have 
obtained that promise, comprehending, as in iv. 1, 2, those of 
the past as well as the present. That, too, was a promise given 
long ago, and then ^ made the subject of an oath. It was not, 
indeed, an oath conp-ming the promise. And it is to be noted, 
that our verse 17 does not say that such was the purpose of 
God's oath ; nor does a single word in the context express, by 
its own power, "the dejDth of God's condescension in the act," ^ or 
grace or condescension at all, except ip-crirtuav^. It was to 
demonstrate {l-uJsT^ai) His will that God sware ; especially the 
unalterableness of it. And fiooXrj is not used in the New Test- 
ament to express the purpose of God when it proposes gracious 
things,^ but where it concerns the manifestation of severity,^ or, 
more commonly, without implying either grace or severity, but 
simply that Sovereign will, and not chance or the mere will of 
men, ruled in what took place.^ And when " God sware if they 
shall enter into JNIy rest," He did most abundantly demonstrate 
the immutability of His will in reference to the promise that the 
Apostle has written up in capitals as that under which the people 
of God now live, of which he has said, " Let us give diligence to 
enter into that rest. ^ And this demonstration was to the heirs of 
the promise, as well as to others, as the Apostle has shown by 
his ample use of it (iii. 7 — iv. 13) for exhortation^ God, says the 
Apostle expressively, interposed with an oath, by which inter- 
posed he may mean to intimate the friendliness^ of this otherwise 
severe purpose ; for, as it concerned those that fell in the wilder- 
ness, it w^as severity, but towards the heirs of the promise, it was 
goodness,® viz., the goodness of faithful warning and exhortation. 
Accordingly, the Apostle adds : in order that we may have a strong 
exhortation, etc. (ver. 18). For exhortation, or "incitement," is 
the meaning of napd-Ar^ffi? here, as it is in the other instance of using 
the same word in our epistle,^" as, also, the constant meaning of 
the equally recurring verbal form Ttapaxahlv, is " to exhort." " 

> Num. xiv. 22 sqq. * Del. " Against Del. 

* Luke vii. 30, which is Del. rof (!) * Acts ii. 23 ; iv. 28, etc. 

®iv. 11. '' wapaKay.elre k. t. 1. iii. 13. *See in Passow Lex. s. v- fiiasTevu. 
» Com. Eom. xi. 22. i° xii. 5 ; xiii. 23. " u. 13 ; x. 26 ; xiii. 19, 22. 


Two immutable things contribute to make the exhortation strongs ; 
the Apostle means the promise to those " that believe," ^ and the 
oath of exclusion to the " faithless." ^ These are two things 
in which it is impossible for God to lie. The unalterable purpose 
of God in both respects must operate as a weighty incentive to 
those who would inherit the promise. 

Those that feel the cogency of the exhortation, — viz., himself 
and his readers, — the Apostle describes as those who flee for 
refuge ; for such is the exact meaning of the present participle 
01 xaracfuyovre^. He thus represents them as actually fleeing, 
but not yet in the refuge. He has already (ii. 1-3) represented 
" giving heed to " the word of Christ, as " escaping. " 
[nu>(7 ■rjfj.tT<i iA<peu^6!i£i%j). He now consistently represents faith 
and endurance, with reference to the promise, as fleeing for refuge.^ 
We flee for refuge ; we are not in the refuge ; for that is the 
substance of the promise, viz., " rest," and the thing hoped for. 
The exhortation is to lay hold of the hope set before us. For 
TtapdxX,* and not xarafuy.^ is to be connected with xpaT7,aai x. r. X. 
as the sense just given of present the expressions demands. And 
here, by Trpoxet/j-ivsg, denoting something out of, and before our- 
selves, it is made expressly clear that IXtti^ does not mean hoping, 
but the substance hoped for. Our refuge is not in laying hold 
on the hope, but in the hoped-for thing itself, on which, having 
escaped and while fleeing, we lay hold by faith that we may 
come to its refuge. This thought the AjDOstle proceeds to 

Ver. 19. "Which we have as an anchor of the soul [a hope] 
both sure and steadfast and entering into the part within the vail. 

The Revision of 1881 connects all the adjective expressions 
(«<7^aA^ — jSziSaca'^ — siffep^o/iivrf^) with ^v referring to i^~c^, which 
seems to be the correct rendering. The difficulty of fitting the 
figure of the anchor through all these expressions requires this 
rendering. On account of this difficulty some^ connect only 

aa<paXri and /Sej^aiav with ayxupav, and eiffsp^o/x. with ^v. But if 

' iv. 3. Mii. 11, 12. 3 Comp. in Bleek, Del. 

* Liin., von Hof., Stuart, etc. ^ de Wette, Del., ALford. 

® Liin., quotes Bleek, Bloomfield. 

vi. 11).] THE ANCHOR OF THE SOUL. 217 

the first two connect with anchor, then all must do so/ for the 
T£ — zai — xat bind all of them in the same construction. The 
figure of the anchor is classical, but, excepting the present 
instance, nowhere used in scripture. The anchor is the depend- 
ence of the sailor on the precarious sea, to keep him from drift- 
ing to destruction on a lee-shore. It is a misunderstanding of 
the figure to suppose ^ that the anchor involves the notion of the 
harbor. When in the harbor, the harbor itself is the ship's 
safety; and is still more the security of the disembarked voyagers. 
It is equally gratuitous to suppose ^ that the figure of the anchor 
briu";s alono; with it the bottom of the sea on which the anchor 
lays hold, w^ien the seamen cast anchor. The anchor is the 
sailor's indispensable furniture ; he takes it wherever he sails ; 
he holds on to it, not only when it is cast into the deep, but also 
while it is stowed in the ship. For it is his safety. Similarly 
'' the hope set before us," on which we have laid hold, is an 
anchor of the soul. And that, we suppose, exhausts the figure. 
Thus Avhat follows is not an amplification of the figure, but is 
meant to particularize things about this hope that bring it, as a 
topic of discourse, into relation with Jesus as our High Priest. 
It is sure, i. e., a matter of certainty, being certainly there where 
we hope to find it.* It is steadfast, therefore it will continue to 
be what and where it is. As for where it is, instead of saying, 
in the common form, that it is laid up in heaven,^ the Apostle 
describes it as entering into the part within the vail. Not that 
he means a different notion ; but, as already said, he thus sets 
the hope in that relation wherein he means to speak of Christ, 
and show that this hope is what Christ makes it by the minis- 
try he discharges there. He says : entering, when Ave might 
expect him to say only that it w there. This may be owing to 
the fact that the Holiest was habitually referred to as a place 
where the high priest "entered," not where he was,^ and because 
the hope follows Jesus. 

' Liin., Alford, von Ilof., etc. 

'^ Comp. common Christian language in liymns, etc. 

" As Ebrard. * Comp aa<paX£ia^ Acts v. 23, 

* Col. i. 5. 6 See in Del. 

218 JESUS WITHIN THE VAIL. [vi. 20. 

Ver. 20. Whither Jesus entered a forerunner for us, having 
become a High Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. 

We observe that, by forerunner, the Apostle still maintains 
the image of fleeing for refuge (ver. 18) ; which, we may note, is 
one more reason for assuming that he does not extend the figure 
of the anchor through ver. 19. Those fleeing for refuge send a 
forerunner in advance to provide for their reception. For a 
forerunner means that others are coming on after him. When 
those coming after have also entered in where the forerunner has 
entered, then they Avill be in the refuge to which they flee. Such 
a forerunner is Jesus ; not, however, by our sending, but by His 
own going.^ He entered to the part within the vail for us, i. e., 
on our behalf, or as the high priest entered the Holiest on behalf 
of the people. This Jesus did as High Priest. For such He 
had become, and as such He was saluted when He ascended to 
God, as the Apostle affirms v. 10. The aorist participle (j'S'^o/j.z'm)^) 
as related to the finite verb in the aorist ^ denotes that what He 
became preceded His act of entering within the vail. 

Thus the Apostle is once more back to his subject (v. 10) after 
a long digression (v. 10 — vi. 20). But, as at v. 10 we found 
this theme enlarged beyond its presentation at iii. 14, from : " a 
great High Priest," to : " High Priest after the order of Mel- 
chizedek," so here we have it enlarged further by the addition of 
the predicate forever, which in the sequel appears very important. 
The present statement of the theme, by putting xard zijv rd^iv 
AhXycffeSix emphatically to the front, prepares the reader for the 
discourse that is immediately to follow. 

Before taking hold of that, let us review the discourse that 
leads up to it. 

At V. 10 the Apostle presents the theme of Christ a High 
Priest after the order of Melchizedek, received into the heavens 
and there greeted by God with this title. To this he now adds 
the further predicate forever. He has derived this title from 
Ps. ex. 4. He has expressly said (v. 11) that he has much to 
say about it ; and now it appears that it is his purpose to com- 
municate something of that " much discourse." He complains 

^ John xiv. 2. '^ Comp. t. 1, 9. 

vii. 1-3.] RESUME OF V. 10 — VI. 20. 219 

(v. 11, 12) of the dulluess of his readers as rendering his task 
difficult, intimating in particular that their dullness makes them 
ignorant of the import of "the elements of the beginning of the 
oracles of God." He means this in general, but, of course, has 
particularly in mind their ignorance of these things as they 
relate to what he now desires to impart. He thus intimates, that 
a knowledge of elementary things of the Old Testament is essen- 
tial to the comprehension of what he would impart ; knowledge 
not merely of the facts ; that the readers had ; but knowledge of 
their significance and import. He adduces a considerable amount 
of these elementary things in the following discourse vii. 1 — x. 
18; and does it in accordance with what he says v. 12: "Ye 
have need that one teach you again what are the elements of the 
beginning of the oracles of God." And first he begins with 
what pertains to Melchizedek. 

A survey of the history of the exposition of vii. 1-25,^ must 
convince one that the Apostle's reproaches, v. 11, 12, are deserved 
by more than the original readers of our epistle. It affords, 
also, ample illustration that his theme is " difficult of interpreta- 
tion." Though he himself undertakes to teach the elements 
relating to his present theme with the simplicity of a master, 
many have confounded this simplicity by bringing to the con- 
sideration of what he says much knowledge, and more imagina- 
tion, that have no relation to the subject. 

VII. 1. For this Melchizedek, king- of Salem, priest of God most 
high, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, 
and blessed him, 2. to whom also Abraham divided a tenth part of 
all, first indeed being interpreted King of righteousness, and then 
also King of Salem, which is King of peace, 3. without father, with- 
out mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days 
nor end of life, but having been made like to the Son of God, 
remaineth a priest forever. 

The verses before us constitute one long sentence, in which 
the Apostle adduces several items drawn exclusively from the 
scriptural account of ISIelchizedek found Ps. ex. 4, and Gen. xiv. 
18-20, which for him and his readers are the only sources of 

* See in Alford. 

220 THE PRIEST FOREVER. [vii. 1-3. 

information about Melchizedek. It is common to represent^ 
that some of these items (as far as Abraham) are expressed appo- 
sitionally to Melchizedek : that the rest are predicative, and 
belong to the predicate of the direct verb : remains a priest for- 
ever ; and that these latter, all of them, enumerate qualities with 
which, and according to which, Melchizedek remains a priest 
forever. To this we must object, that, first it gives no proper 
force to yap = for, which obviously connects with the statement 
of vi. 20 that Jesus is High Priest forever after the order of 
Melchizedek. It makes ydp explanatory = that is,^ and correctly. 
But the interpretation issues in making it argumentative, by tak- 
ing the predicative terms : without father . . . nor end of life 
as the ground for affirming that Melchizedek remains a priest 
forever. It is argumentative to say : Jesus is High Priest for- 
ever, for Melchizedek, owing to his being without genealogy, 
and having neither beginning of days nor end of life, remains a 
priest forever. Again, were it true that the predicates in ques- 
tion proved Melchizedek to be one who remains forever, it could 
only have force, as related to Jesus remaining a priest forever, 
if Melchizedek's remaining such forever be considered as included 
in the sum of the notions, or as being itself tlie sum of the 
notion expressed by : the order of Melchizedek, after which Jesus 
is said to be priest. But as a fact, the order itself, and the per- 
petuity/ of the priest are distinct notions. This appears from the 
way in which they are brought in, as noted above on vi. 20, and 
also from the subsequent discourse, vers. 4 sqq., wliere first the 
former (ver. 6) and then the latter (ver. 8), is emphasized ; and 
this with reiteration (vers. 11-14 and vers, 15, 16). Again, while 
there is nothing in the clauses King of Salem . . . without gene- 
alogy to denote that they are not one and all introduced in the 
same way and with the same intent, it is, on the other hand, far 
from plain that the predicates : without father . . . nor end of 
life have any logical relation like a premise for the inference 
remains a priest forever. 

For these reasons, and many difficulties that are the offsprings 
of the construction we reject, we must choose another. 

^ Comp. Del., von Hof., Ebrard, Lindsay, Davidson, etc. ^ Ebrard. 


It is remarkable that the Apostle, iu vers. 4-25, does not once 
draw a comparison between Melchizedek and Jesus, as he does 
when arguing from the high priest, c. g.^ with a o&Vaif xat 6 
•/ptartx; ; ^ but he states everything as of Melchizedek himself. 
It is natural to suppose that he means the reader himself to make 
the inference of the correlative truth regarding Christ ; and such 
is, accordingly, the common way of interpreting all that is said 
of Melchizedek. But we are led to suppose the Apostle would 
be differently understood : first, from the difference of manner 
just remarked on ; again from the obvious fact that the Apostle's 
chief purpose is to affirm certain things of Christ, and all their 
force as affirmed is only important as true of him ; and again, 
because, while all that is affirmed is perfectly reasonable when 
said of Christ, some of the things, and particularly the abiding 
forever, are quite incomprehensible when said of Melchizedek. 
On this account we understand, that the Apostle, having 
expressed his theme : " Jesus become a priest forever after the 
order of Melchizedek" (vi. 20), proceeds to speak of this person 
mentioned in Ps. ex. 4, as he is there represented, Jesus Melchi- 
zedek,^ without distinguishing between the two historical persons 
involved. What may be said of one he says of either, meaning 
however to represent in particular what is true of Jesus as so 
named in the Ps. cx.^ He may the more readily write thus, in 
contrast with the formal parallels he expressly draws when he 
appeals to the Levitical priests and high priest and the taber- 
nacle and its furniture, etc., because his Psalm text so unquali- 
fiedly declares the Melchizedek character of the Messiah. This 
makes it needless for him first to point the parallel. 

The subject, then, before the Apostle in our chap. vii. is not 
the Melchizedek of Gen. xiv., but the ]\Ielchizedek of Ps. ex., 
and named vi. 20. Our vers. 1-3 are connected with that fey 
For, which introduces expressions explanatory of the subject : 
" Jesus become a high priest after the order of Melchizedek." 

'v. 5 ; ix. 28 ; comp. viii. 3. * Comp. J. Cappellus. 

^ As resembling this manner of blending predicates of different subjects 
without express comparison, comp. Eph. v. 23-33 ; Gal. iv. 22-31 ; 1 Cor. 
X. 1-1. 

222 ELEMENTS OF THE SUBJECT. [vii. 1-3. 

This Melchizedek (duto? 6 MeX^), says the Apostle, as naming the 
subject just described ; just as the Apostle Peter/ after describ- 
ing David's prophetic description of Christ's resurrection says : 
" this Jesus {ruurov r. "hjaouv), as naming the subject so described 
by David. To this subject he adds a number of terms apposi- 
tionally, viz., all from King" of Salem to without genealogy. 
They are all drawn from the record Gen. xiv. 18-20, and are 
descriptive of the subject, reproducing the traits of the character 
or person which the Psalmist, or rather God by the Psalmist,^ 
has devoted to such significant use. This person, says the 
Apostle, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but hav- 
ing been made like to the Son of God, remains a priest forever ; 
and excepting the first clause, the foundation of this statement is 
Ps. xc. 4. All this representation (vers. 1-3) is made, not in 
proof of anything, but, as said above, to present " the elements 
of the oracles of God " that are needed for the proof the Apostle 
means to give in the sequel. Yet these elements are so enumer- 
ated as to present at once the distinctive order of the priesthood, 
especially as contrasted with the Levitical. 

Psalm ex. takes Melchizedek to represent the nature of the 
promised Messiah, viz., that he is a priest of a unique order ; 
and the Psalm declares, as speaking for Jehovah, that he is such 
a priest forever. In enumerating the traits that must accord- 
ingly be imputed to Christ, the Apostle draws from the only 
extant account of the historical Melchizedek, for the Psalmist as 
well as for others. In doing this, he does not mention everything, 
as e. g., he makes no reference to Melchizedek's bringing forth 
bread and wine. It is evident from the sequel, vers. 4 sqq., that 
it his aim to adduce such traits as mark the greatness of the char- 
acter ascribed to Christ, and that make his priesthood unique. 
This Melchizedek was King of Salem ; was a priest of God most 
high. These are the chief heads which he further defines seria- 
tim immediately after. He met Abraham at the crisis of his 
greatest worldly eminence,^ when returning with the glory of 
victory. On the one hand Melchizedek blessed him ; on the 
other he paid tithes to Melchizedek. This is the Melchizedekian 
^ Acts ii. 32. 2 Qo^^^ y. 6. s Comp. Del. 

vii. 1-3.] ARGUMENT FROM SILENCE. 223 

action that illustrates what the order does. Then the significance 
of Melchizedek's name and of his royal title is noted. The 
former means King of righteousness ; the latter is King of peace. 
As the Apostle himself thus notes the significance he attaches to 
the title King of Salem, it is of no importance to consider whether 
as is indeed abundantly evident/ he understood by Salem Jeru- 
salem, or some other place. Following these items, the Apostle 
mentions bthers that mark the unique character of the priesthood 
ascribed to Christ. The Psalmist, describing that priesthood by 
the name Melchizcdek, signifies that it would not be essential to 
it that he was without father, without mother, without genealogy, 
because Melchizedek appears without any mention of these. What 
is meant by this becomes plain when, vers, 6, 13, 14, the Apostle 
points the contrast with the Levitieal priesthood. The scripture 
calls ]\Ielchizedek : priest of God most high, yet mentions no 
father, no mother, no genealogy that explain or intimate his title 
to be a priest, titles so important to the notion of a legitimate 
priesthood according to the law of Moses. The significance of 
what is thus predicated of Melchizedek is wholly in reference to 
the fact that he, or rather the Melchizedek JNIessiah, is called a 
priest. For it is common enough for the Old Testament, as well 
as the New, to mention important persons without making allu- 
sion to their parents or descent. It is, moreover, Avorthy of note 
in passing, that the Apostle's way of reasoning here from the 
silence of scripture is something totally different from that prac- 
tised by the so-called higher criticism. Did he mean to affirm, 
as indeed some ^ have absurdly supposed he does, that jNIelchize- 
dek had no parents, and that he was more than a mere man, and 
did he base that affirmation on the fact that scri})turc mentions 
no parents of his, that would, indeed, be arguing from the 
silence of scripture in the fashion so fondly indulged by the 
higher criticism. It would be, likewise, such a violent use of 
scripture, we think, did the Apostle, on the ground of such 
silence, inculcate ^ the notion that Melchizedek was a person dif- 
fering from common men and having a great and mysterious 

1 Comp. Del., Alford. 

* Bleek ; and Orig., Epiphan., etc., see in Pool. Synop. ' As Alford. 

224 MADE LIKE THE SON OF GOD. [vii. 1-3. 

eminence. If one may reason so of him, it does not appear why 
one may not reason in a similar manner of others that are intro- 
duced into sacred history in the same way, e. g., Elijah. 

The Apostle adds two more predicates, which, like the three 
just named, are significant with reference to the priesthood 
described ; viz., that it lacked something deemed very important 
to priesthood under the law of Moses : having neither beginning 
of days nor end of life. " It must be noted that the Apostle does 
not say : ' neither beginning of life nor end,' but : neither begin- 
ning of days, inasmuch as apyji rjijspwv can, in the case of an 
incumbent of an office, be the beginning of his term of office 
(comp. Matt. ii. 1). Whereas those, that otherwise in redemp- 
tive history held the priesthood, entered on the office at a certain 
period to continue in it till death. Melchizedek is the priest he 
is in the sacred history in such a fashion that nothing is said of 
his entrance on office nor of the end of his life." ^ We are 
unable to see a deeper reference^ in the present expressions. 
But these notions being expressed participially (s/wv) without 
the article, may belong to the predicate ; not so directly as the 
following clause, owing to their negative character ; and perhaps 
they need not be drawn to the predicate at all. 

The Apostle adds : but having been made like to the Son of 
God. Conjoined with the foregoing by oi = but = " but rather,"^ 
the present expression is the positive contrary of the preceding 
negatives that point to the Levitical ordinances which give those 
negatives their significance. The readers would, of their own 
suggestion, notice that : without father . . . having neither begin- 
ning of days nor end of life, describes a priesthood unlike the 
Levitical. The actual likeness the Apostle expresses : it was to 
the Son of God. He says having been made like, and by this 
he appeals to the authority of Ps. cx.^ and means that God was 
the maker of this likeness.^ At v. 6 the Apostle has first used 
this text, and there he represents God as the agent of what is 
expressed by it, and as doing what is so expressed, by and at the 
time of, the declaration of the Psalm. Nothing has intervened 

' von Hof. * Against Del., Alford. ^ Comp. vi. 12. 

* With Ebrard ; against Del., Alford, etc. * See in Del. 

vii. 1—3.1 dyw;j.(nw/ii><iii. 225 

to change the thought there expressed. The word a<pcofj.()to)fj.iv>i? 
does uot elsewhere occur iu the New Testament nor in the LXX. ; 
but it is classical.' It is, however, used in the " Epistle of Jere- 
miah " iv. 62, 70,^ and, as there used, means " to become like." 
And in our text it may mean no more. So that, following the 
common interpretation, as we have done above, and defining who 
is to be thought of as the maker of the likeness, may be overload- 
ing the expression. Yet "to become" like means to become 
indistinguisluible from that to which Melchizedek became like ; 
as the Jews became indistinguishable from the Babylonians when 
they failed to act as the counsel runs in the " Ep. of Jer.," ver. 
4 : " Beware that ye in no wise be like the strangers {a<poiJ.oiiodivTE'i 
T0T9 aXh)<puh)i<; a<po[ioiwi^Ts). By the use made of Melchizedek 
Ps. ex., that character has become something totally different 
from what he appears Gen. xiv. This obvious fact is sufficient 
answer to those ^ who object that Ps. ex. makes Christ like Mel- 
chizedek, and not the reverse, and who urge, therefore, that it is 
not there, but in Gen. xiv. that the Apostle finds the evidences 
of making like. Without the authority of Ps. ex. the Apostle 
had never found this likeness. By naming Jesus in this connec- 
tion : the Son of God, the Apostle does not point a resemblance 
intimated, as is supposed,* in the expressions without father . . . 
nor end of life, as though these traits were literally realized in 
the personal attributes of Christ as regards His eternal being. 
How can likeness be expressed to the term without father by 
calling one a son ? So naming Jesus has the effect of pointing 
the contrast between the inferior Levitical priesthood, that is 
excluded from the likeness here expressed, and Christ, who is 
the subject of the likeness. The Apostle gives the name that he 
has already exalted at the beginning of the epistle, and connected * 
with the declaration in the first verse of Ps. ex. as representing 
its meaning. The expression : but become like the Son of God, 
is, in fact, by the force of the i^i = " but," antithetical of all those 
that precede. The latter : King of Salem . . . nor end of life, 
sum up the elements of this historical character as found in Gen. 

1 See Alford. ^ j^xX. Ed. Tisch. =» Del. ; de Wette. 

* Calvin, Alford, Lindsay, etc., comp. Del. * i. 13. 


226 THE ORDEK OF THIS PRIEST. [vii. 1-3. 

xiv. : the present expression interprets the Ps. ex., declaring what 
that character, with these traits, becomes by the representation 
of the Psalmist. Thus the clause : but become like to the Son 
of God, prepares the way for the final and crowning predicate : 
remains a priest forever. For ^ these expressions go together. 
The participle a^a>/x. without the article, does not belong to the 
subject, as apposition, but is predicated of the subject, and the 
participial clause expresses how the thing affirmed in the predi- 
cate conies about.^ The affirmation itself: remains a priest for- 
ever, is simply on the authority of Ps. ex., as ver. 8 shows. 
" There is, indeed, a difference between ££c rd dcrjvexi? and ei"? rdv 
aimva (Ps. cx. 4) ; but only this, that the latter expresses ' ever- 
lasting,' while the former expresses ' steady continuance.' " ^ — 
" Melchizedek is not, in himself, the type of Christ, but only by 
David is he stamped as type of Christ."* 

What this Melchizedek material becomes by the divine word 
of the Psalmist is what is before the Apostle, and that is the 
subject of his direct predicate : remains a priest forever. And 
this result we obtain without supplying a 6'? as some have done.^ 
Jesus said : " Thou art Peter, and on this rock I will build my 
church."® And Paul, speaking of husband and wife and of 
Christ and His church, fails to distribute his predicate, and adds 
the explanation : " But I speak of Christ and the church." '^ A 
similar confusion appears in the Apostle's predicates in our vers. 
1-3. But in the crowning predicate he speaks of Christ alone. 
It is, therefore, an error to suppose that ]\Ielchizedek is here said 
to be a priest forever ; and the effiDrts to interpret how this may 
be said ^ are gratuitous. Had the Apostle said here : High Priest, 
instead of: priest, the interpretation just given would have been 
plain to every reader. But he says priest, though speaking of 
Christ ; because he is speaking from his Psalm text that says no 
more; and because it is the order of piiesthood that is now 
noticed. As to order, Aaron was a Levitical priest ; but among 

' With " Syr.," see in Alford ; and Calvin, Grotius, Ebrard (?) against de 
Wette, Del., von Hof., Alford, etc. 

''■ Comp. V. 1. ^ von Hof. * Ebrard. * e. g., J. Cappellus. 

« Matt. xvi. 18. ' Eph. v. 32. » See in Alford. 

vii. 1— 3.J Sedexdrujxe, tvXuyrjxe, fierdff^r^xi. 227 

Levitical priests he was high priest. So the order of Christ's 
priesthood is described by Melchizedek ; but as for dignity and 
office he is High Priest. In vers. 16 sqq. Christ is accordingly 
called simply " a priest." As has been said already, this state- 
ment (vers. 1-3) (viz., Christ, as described by Melchizedek, 
remains priest forever, with the amplification of the epithet Mel- 
chizedek) is not presented as proof, but as the elements or premise 
of proof that is to follow ; and it follows immediately. Yet, as 
has been already noted, these elements, in their very enumera- 
tion, are so presented as to set in relief the unique character of 
the order of Christ's priesthood as contrasted with the Levitical 

The inferences drawn by the Apostle from the material pre- 
sented vers. 1-3 extend through vers. 4-25. Understanding the 
subject of the predicate : " remaineth a priest forever" (ver. 3) to be 
Christ Himself, as just explained, and not, as is commonly under- 
stood, the historical ]\Ielchizedek, we are constrained to read the 
following vers. 4-25, differently from others. We must understand 
Christ to be spoken of there, and only Christ, where it is common 
to suppose that Melchizedek is the subject. Jesus, as priest, is 
the subject ; but priest as defined by Melchizedek. The eiFect of 
this interpretation is, that, whereas, it is commonly supposed, 
that things are affirmed of Melchizedek, and we must ourselves 
apply them to Christ, it appears that we have them affirmed 
directly of Christ Beside the reasons that we have found in the 
interpretation of vers. 1-3, for so understanding the subject, let 
us recall the observation already made regarding the vers. 4-25, 
viz., that no ourw?^ or other expression is used by the Apostle to 
point the successive parallels between Melchizedek and Jesus 
that appear in vers. 4-25. No parallel or comparison whatever 
is expressed, but fiicts are predicated of the subject denoted by 
«5ro? = this one, (ver. 4). It is to be noted, moreover, that for 
this subject we have predicates expressed in the perfect (<h(hxdTojxe, 
euXoyyjxe, fj.eritrxT^xe). It is not a satisfactory explanation of these 
perfects to say ^ that they represent actions whose effects remain, 
and stand there as done in the scripture ; especially when the 

^ Comp. V. 5. ^ As von Ilof., Winer Gram., p. 273. 


simultaneous and correlative act of other parties to the transac- 
tion is expressed by the aorist (^k'dwxi). Tliese perfects denote a 
subject that belongs to the present/ and the abiding effect of the 
actions they express, depends upon the present existence of the 
actor. As we must say : " Columbus discovered America," but 
would say : " Stanley has discovered the sources and the course 
of the Congo." The latter shows that we speak of one that lives, 
while the former is said of one that has ceased to live. So the 
Apostle says of Abraham : he paid tithes ; but says of the sub- 
ject denoted by ooro^;, he has taken tithes, he has blessed Abra- 
ham. In instances like the present, " the perfect brings the past 
into contact with the present " ^ by the fact of the present exist- 
ence of the speaker or of the one spoken of, that has acted. Nor 
can we think ^ that this intentional use of the perfects, is " because 
of the 'enduring nature of the office and priesthood of Melchiz- 
edek ;" for, beside finding this notion of Melchizedek incompati- 
ble with the sober facts about him, consistency in the discourse 
would require the other predicate about Melchizedek to be in 
the perfect. Why should the Apostle not say (vers. 9, 10) Mel- 
chizedek " has met him," as well as has taken tithes of Levi 
(instead of dsdzxarwrac — Melchizedek, i. e., ouro? so interpreted, 
being the active subject of the passive perfect, — and tTu^rj'^rrjai) ? 
In these verses 9, 10, we think we have a plain intimation of the 
distinction between the reigning subject (expressed by wuro?) and 
Melchizedek. Both in the naming of Melchizedek and in his 
action expressed by the aorist, in an adverbial clause, marking 
time, he appears as apart ; while ouro? is the preceding and con- 
tinues to be the reigning subject, with its actions expressed in 
the perfect. Furthermore, as will appear below, the represen- 
tation of ver. 6, that appeals to the fact that the subject expressed 
by ouzo? is not descended from Levi, has a very natural sugges- 
tion when said of Christ, and is naturally reiterated with proof 
in ver. 13 ; whereas, when said of INIelchizedek it has an appear- 
ance of absurdity that is with difficulty set in the light of digni- 
fied argument. For the rest, we hope that the following 
exposition of the Apostle's meaning will have a self-evidential 
1 Comp. Alford. ^ Kiihner, Gram. II. p. 127. ^ With Alford. 


force that will confirm the correctness of the determining con- 
struction of uuTu? with which it begins. 

Ver. 4. Now consider how great this one [is] to whom also 
Abraham gave a tenth out of the chief [of the spoils], the Pa- 
triarch ! 

For the reasons with which we have prefaced this section, we 
take ouTog to mean Jesus, with His priesthood, as defined by 
Melchizedek, and declared to remain forever. Therefore, we 
render it simply This One, and not "this man ;" the latter ren- 
dering, being based on the notion that the historical Melchizedek 
is referred to. Moreover, we must supply is and not was for the 
same reason. And grammatically, also, we are constrained to 
supjjly is to a subject whose predicates are expressed in the per- 
fect. Moreover, it is obviously the Apostle's aim to set forth a 
present and actual greatness. The greatness has been already 
expressed by some of the things enumerated as marking the traits 
of a priesthood after the order of Melchizedek, viz., " King," and 
that indeed " King of righteousness," and " King of peace." But 
now the Apostle calls attention to the comparative greatness. 
Because, for his purpose, it is expedient to show, that the great- 
ness is superior to that on which Jewishly inclined persons were 
tempted to build their hopes of salvation. It is difficult to 
determine the force of the'^= also. It may relate to ra^Uxog, 
giving it a causal force, and meaning that, because so great, 
Abraham, " accordingly," jmid him tithes.^ This has the advan- 
tage of taking this and the following xai in substantially the 
same sense. Or it may mean emphasis, belonging to 5syA-r,v^ and 
expressing that Abraham " went so far as to pay tithes." ^ But 
the emphatic way in which the Patriarch is put at the end of the 
sentence makes it unlikely that an additional notion is empha- 
sized. The Apostle would express the notion of how great by 
the single fact that Abraham acknowledged it, and to emphasize 
that, he adds the significant patriarchal title. 

Ver. 5. And they, indeed, of the sons of Levi that receive the 

^ Which is rejected by Lach., Treg., and put in the margin by W. and H., 
but retained by Tisch. viii. Alford, Liin., Del., von Hof. 

^ von Hof. 3 So ^i£,,j.,j . j)g|^ ^^^ 

230 HIGHER CRITICISM. [vii. 5, 6 O. 

priesthood have commandmeiit to take tithes of the people accord- 
ing' to the law, that is, of their brethren, though [these have] 
come out of the loins of Abraham ; 6 a but he whose genealogy is 
not counted from them hath taken tithes from Abraham. 

In this the Apostle adduces a second evidence of the greatness 
proposed for consideration ver. 4. The zat continues the " ac- 
cordingly " expressed by the foregoing xat, referring to T:rjXi-/.<)<i 
taken causally. He is so great ; accordiugly Abraham paid 
tithes to him and he has taken tithes of Abraham, without such 
warrant as the Levitical priests have used of for taking tithes of 
their brethren. We understand h. rmv o'mv Aeu^i to be used par- 
titively/ just as the foregoing ix r. dxpoi9. And the close con- 
junction of the phrases is one reason for construing them alike. 
Did the Apostle mean to express the notion of priests " deriving 
their priesthood by virtue of their being sons of Levi," ^ he 
would not choose a form of expressing it that, like the present, 
with its proximity to the foregoing identical construction, is 
exposed, by attraction, to be taken in the same partitive sense. 

The matter of construction here becomes important in view 
of recent critical views of the composition of the Pentateuch, and 
of the historical genesis of the Levitical priesthood. To those 
who maintain, that till Ezra there was no distinction between 
Levites that were not priests and Levites that were, it must be a 
welcome interpretation of our passage that makes the Apostle 
mean " priests deriving their title to be priests from their being 
sous of Levi." On the other hand, it must remain an insur- 
mountable obstacle to the critical view referred to, that the Apos- 
tle, whose reference to Jewish institutions is exclusively to them 
as they stand recorded in the Pentateuch, expressly recognizes a 
distinction there between Levites in general and Levites that 
were priests. 

The difficulties suggested^ by the fact that it was the Levites 
and not the priests that took tithes of their brethren, while the 
tithes of the priests came from their Levitical brethren, need not 
exact our attention. The priests were supported by tithes taken 

^ With Liin., Alford, de Wette ; against Del., von Hof. 

2 So Del., von Hof. ^ Comp. Del. 



of the rest of the Israelites ; and we see a sufficient explanation 
for only the priests being mentioned in the present connection, 
because it is priests and priesthood and the greatness of Christ's 
priesthood that are considered. 

To point the contrast that exhibits the greatness of This One 
in taking tithes, the Apostle describes Levitical tithing in a man- 
ner to expose its inferiority. They have commandment to tithe 
the people, which refers their title to take tithes to a command- 
ment/ without which they could no more take tithes than others ; 
and limits their taking tithes to the people. And then they 
could only lift the tithes according to law ; for we connect xard 
T. vojiov with arLodsxarov^.^ By this they were limited to the things 
specified. Moreover, the tuv Xa6v is defined ; they are their own 
brethren ; and this expression is further emphasized by : though 
these have come out of the loins of Abraham. The force of these 
expressions has been variously interpreted, and indeed in the 
most opposite ways.^ But the most obvious meaning seems to 
be, that the Levites took tithes under circumstances that implied 
no greatness or superiority whatever, inasmuch as those of whom 
they took tithes were their own brethren, descended, like them- 
selves, from Abraham, which descent was the paramount rela- 
tionship and matter of consequence, wherein all were equals.* 

The contrast with the foregoing (ver. 5) that illustrate the 
greatness of This One, now follows (ver. 6 a). The point of the 
contrast is made by describing this subject as : he whose gene- 
alogy is not counted from them, viz., the sons of Levi. As it is 
commonly understood that Melchizedek is the subject here, so it 
is as commonly accepted without remark, that the Apostle notes 
the obvious fact that Melchizedek was not descended from Levi 
in order to point his conclusion. But where, before or since, 
was there even drawn an inference from the fact that one was not 
descended from another that lived centuries after his own time ? 
And how can a notion so preposterous be introduced, as that not 
being descended from one of Abraham's posterity of the third de- 
gree, and much further if we take Aaron, could have any signifi- 

1 Num. xviii. 20-32 ; Deut. xiv. 22-29. ^ With Alford, Del. 

^ See in Del. * C'oiiip. Liiu. 

232 HIS EIGHT SUPEEIOR [vii. 5, 6 a. 

cance in the transaction of Melchizedek with Abraham himself? 
Could it be more extraordinary to emphasize the fact, that Abra- 
ham was not the offspring of his own great-grandson ? Such a 
reference can only be thought reasonable as a mode of expressing 
that Melchizedek, who took tithes, was without such a warrant as 
that of the Levitical priesthood, determined, as the latter was, by 
genealogical relationship to a tithe-taking tribe. It is, however, 
incomprehensible, how any author, much more how one so skill- 
ful as the Author of our epistle, could adopt so extraordinary a 
fashion of expressing that idea, or any idea ; unless we under- 
stand him to intend the sharpest irony. But there can be no 
suspicion of irony here. We must understand tlie Apostle to be 
speaking of a subject of whom it would be reasonable, and not 
absurd, to call attention to the fact that he is not descended from 
Levi. That subject cannot be Melchizedek. It can only be 
Jesus Himself. The words under consideration are, therefore, 
the most* convincing evidence of what has already been assumed 
on other grounds, viz., that by «5ro? (ver. 4) the Apostle means 
Jesus and no other, and that Jesus, and not Melchizedek, is the 
reigning subject all through our passage (vers. 4-25). Meaning, 
then, Jesus by This One, the Apostle appropriately notes that, 
without his having any genealogical relation to the tithe-taking 
Levites, he has taken tithes from Abraham. 

The most surprising part of this statement, viz., the represen- 
tation that Jes^is has taken tithes of Abraham, really belongs to 
ver. 4, where it has already been made. The point of the pre- 
sent statement is something additional. But we have left the 
consideration of this extraordinary representation to the present, 
because only here it comes out in unmistakable light. Now it 
appears that the Apostle is not stating things that were true of 
Melchizedek, leaving the reader to infer corresponding conse- 
quences with reference to Jesus, as the antitype. He affirms 
them directly of Jesus Himself. It needs no words to prove 
that what is affirmed directly of Jesus, and things so strange, 
much more forcibly set forth his greatness, than when the same 
are applied by comparison and inference. The difference is as 
great as between the direct shining of the sun-light and that light 


as seen reflected by the moon. The only question is : can the 
Apostle so speak of Jesus f We do not know that the question 
has ever been considered. The universal understanding that 
only Melchizedek is meant, when the Apostle says : This One has 
taken tithes of Abraham, seems to express the judgment that it 
cannot be affirmed of Jesus. 

In reply to the question just jii'oposed, we argue first, as above, 
that we must understand the Apostle to be speaking of some one 
of whom it is reasonable to notice that he has no relationship of 
genealogy to the Levites. Then again, as has also been already 
noticed, the perfect 5t(^=:/ATMA.t =has taken tithes, requires a subject 
that exists. And this reminds us, that, if it is difficult to con- 
ceive how Jesus can be spoken of as the actor in a transaction so 
remote as Abraham's day, it is also difficult to conceive how 
Melchizedek can be spoken of as now existing (vers. 3, 8), and 
his action ages ago be expressed by the perfect tense, when sim- 
ultaneous action of others is expressed by the aorist. This 
difficulty about Melchizedek is precisely the great embarrassment 
that makes our chap, vii,, so difficult of interpretation and so cele- 
brated as one of " the old cruces interprctum '' ' of the New Testa- 
ment. The Apostle, however, represents Jesus as having taken 
tithes of Abraham, on the ground of his being declared a priest 
after the order of Melchizedek. A priest after the order of the 
Levitical priesthood, was not only such in character, but he also 
did what Levitical priests did when their order was instituted by 
Moses, e. g., they took tithes of their brethren. A priest after 
the order of Melchizedek must do what Melchizedek did. What 
Melchizedek did as priest, cannot be represented otherwise than 
as in vers. 1-3, where his tithing and blessing Abraham are 
mentioned. As regards priestly performances of Melchizedek, 
only two things are mentioned there, viz., that he blessed Abra- 
ham and took tithes of him. The meeting Abraham was not 
one of them, and remains expressed by the aorist (vers. 1, 10). 
The circumstances of the case, therefore, only admit of represent- 
ing, that a priest, after the order of Melchizedek, has taken tithes 

^ Comp. Auberlen, Melchizedek's ewiges Leben u. Priesterthum, " Stud u. 
Krit, 1857 p. 453 sqq. 

234 HE HAS BLESSED ABRAHAM. [vii. 5, G «. 

of Abraham, and has blessed Abraham (ver. 6 b). The Levitical 
priests of any period from Moses to the destruction of the Tem- 
ple, A. D. 70, could prove the privilege and distinction of their 
order by pointing to their actual practice of taking tithes. And 
they would express that existing practice did they say : " we 
have taken tithes of our brethren." But did the order now 
claun to be still perpetuated in living representatives, and did 
they assert their privileges, they would say : " we have taken 
tithes of our brethren," referring to what was true as actual fact 
only ages ago. Similarly, the Apostle, in asserting the great- 
ness of Jesus as a High priest after the order of Melchizedek, 
may say : he has tithed Abraham and he has blessed Abraham. 
Nor can we conceive in what other way he could represent the 
distinction and peculiarity of a priesthood after the order of 
Melchizedek, consistently with representing that the order still exists, 
and has its rights in force. To say of the Levitical order of 
priests : " they took tithes of their brethren," implies that the 
order is a thing of the past ; and one claiming to be of that order 
now, with none of its privileges in force, would be but a shadow 
of what the order once was. And similarly, did the Apostle 
only represent in our vers. 4-10 what was true of Melchizedek, 
and not true of Jesus, but only imaging what Jesus would be, he 
would be leaving Jesus, with his claim, to be of the order of 
Melchizedek, only the shadow of what that priest of God Most 
High really was. 

The Apostle appropriately says, then, This One, meaning this 
Priest after the order of Melchizedek, has taken tithes of Abra- 
ham without needing such a warrant for tithing as if he counted 
his genealogy from the Levites. And the items included in this 
contrast are, that he has his warrant neither by virtue of descent, 
nor on the ground of commandment, nor limited by prescription 
of law for the case. It is on the ground of his personal emi- 
nence, and it is, as ver. 4 says, from the chief and choice portions 
of the spoils that the tenth has been given to him. Moreover, 
he has tithed Abraham, who stood in no relation to him but that 
of one that recognized his eminence. 

Continuing with xat = and, which has the same force as that 

Vii. G 6.] THE IMPORT OF THAT. 235 

of the two preoediug aud coutiuues it, the Apostle adds, a third 

Ver, G b. And [he] hath blessed him that hath the promises. 
7. Now without any dispute the less is blessed by the better. 

" It is uot easy to understand why 6 h has been commonly 
connected with what precedes, aud uot wuth ver. 7. ... It is 
quite iu place to designate Abraham particularly as the possessor 
of the promises, that is of the sum total of all that promises 
salvation, where it concerns blessing him, and not where it con- 
cerns taking tithes of him. As possessor of the promises, he is 
the one blessed of God iu the fullest sense. Is This One, with 
his tithing Abraham, superior to the order of things created by 
the law, so too, by blessing Abraham, he is superior to the salva- 
tion comprised in promise." ^ The self-evidential appeal in 
proof of This One being the better who blesses (ver. 7), cannot 
be made more forcible by connueuf. But it is to be noted, that 
now the Apostle says : the better, and uot : the greater. Not 
that a diiferent notion is thereby expressed, but, while expressing 
that This One is greater than Abraham, it resumes the notion of 
betterness already presented (vi. 9 ; i. 4), and involves, as we 
have seen at 1, 4, the thought of " better for you, or for us." 

And now follows a fourth consideration : 

Ver. 8. And here indeed men that die receive tithes ; but there 
[one of whom it is] testified that he liveth. 

The here and there are used with reference to the temporal 
nearness and remoteness of the things spoken of. The Leviti- 
cal tithing is near to the Author ; the transaction with Abraham 
remote. What is now said, passing from Abraham, introduces a 
direct contrast with the Levitical priesthood to show how great 
This One is compared with that. The Levitical priesthood was 
perpetuated through a succession of dying men. And both: 
men, and : that die are emphatic.^ The idea is, that they receive 
tithes only as members for i\\Q time of their order, with no other 
title to do so than what passes from one to the other.^ This is 
an idea relative to the Levitical priesthood that recurs later with 

'von Hof., exchanging his Melchizedek as subject, for "This One." 
^Alford. Hon Hof. 

236 PRIESTS DIE ; HE LIVES. [vii. 8. 

reference to sacrifices/ But uow it is mentioned with reference to 
tithing, because that subject is present and belongs to what con- 
cerns tfie merit of the order in itself. When sacrifices come to 
be spoken of, it will concern the importance and benefit of the 
order to others for whom they make sacrifices. In contrast with the 
case of these mortal functionaries, the Apostle places This One, and 
the fact that he liveth. He says : he is attested that He lives, 
and he means the testimony of Ps. ex. That is his text ; and 
no where else is there testimony of the sort connected with the 
notion of Melchizedek. To the objection^ that Melchizedek 
" does not now take tithes," and that, therefore, we must look to 
Gen. xiv. for this witness, we can reply that the Apostle says 
of This One : " he has taken tithes of Abraham," and he has 
nothing else in mind ; and This One does not mean the historical 
Melchizedek. The present notion is, that he lives, and his order is 
perpetuated in himself and because he lives. It is not something 
to be conceived of as distinct from himself. The superiority 
both of person and order to the Levitical priesthood so brought 
out in relief is so evident as to need no amplification. Yet it is 
only so when we understand that : " now liveth," is affirmed 
only of Jesus, and not of Melchizedek. Were there another 
that lives forever, he would share the distinction with Jesus, and 
to that extent diminish the force there would be in such a fact 
when affirmed of one alone. Not because two priests would 
come in conflict.^ But because what is pointed to as a mark of 
pre-eminence and distinction ceases to be such when said of more 
than Jesus. But there is only one testimony that he lives. It is 
Ps. ex., and that testifies this only of Christ and no other. In 
what is now presented, the Apostle gives application to that item 
of the elements, vers. 1-3, that states : " he remaineth a priest 
forever." He presses it to show the superiority of Jesus to Levi- 
tical priests. 

To the same effect he adds yet another and the fifth consid- 
eration : 

Ver. 9. And, so to speak, through Abraham, Levi, also, who 

' Vers. 23-25. ^ Of von Hof. 

^ Alford ; comp. de Wette and Lindsay on ver. 3. 

vii. 9, 10.] LEVI HIMSELF TITHED TO HIM. 237 

receiveth tithes has been tithed ; 10. for he was yet in the loins of 
his father when Melchizedek met him. 

The raeaniiig of tliis is plain enough. But it is obviously an 
unusual thing to say, though legitimate reasoning in a matter 
like the present, that concerns, not the moral quality and conse- 
quences of the action referred to, but only its significance as to 
comparative greatness. Superiority to Abraham involved super- 
iority to all descended from him. There is a vigor and striking 
effect in the form of presenting this notion that escapes analysis. 
It brings the Levitical priesthood into direct relation with the 
action and the significance of Abraham's paying tithes. " Jesus 
has tithed the Levitical priesthood," presents a notion that leaves 
the latter in unmistakable inferiority. Yet, as something strained, 
and not to be pressed to other consequences, the Author qualifies 
the expression by a : so to speak. We may note that this : 
so to speak shows the fine sense of propriety of the Author ; and 
w^e may reflect that it justifies us in refusing, as above, to under- 
stand ver. 6, as if he emphasized the notion that Melchizedek 
was not descended from Levites. Such a notion, if presented 
for any purpose whatever, must surely call for an w? k'm><^ eiTzslv, 
or the like, much more than the representation of our ver. 10. 
As already remarked, the mention of Melchizedek with an 
aorist predicate (ore fru'^rjvrrjfTsv aijTui MsX-/.) denotes that the his- 
torical Melchizedek is treated as a different subject from This One 
which is the active subject (ver. 9) of the passive perfect 
dsihyAriuTat. We take it, moreover, as additional confirmation of 
our view (viz., that the Author means Jesus where he seems to 
speak of Melchizedek), that in our vers. 9, 10, he means the 
Levitical order when he names Levi. For ylsyr'i? 6 dzxarag 
}.a/j./3dvojv means the order that according to the law has and uses 
the prerogative of tithing. He means the Levites in general, 
and these he calls Levi. 

The Apostle has now handled the elements enumerated in 
vers. 1-3, to show the superiority of Jesus, the Melchizedekian 
Priest ; and he has shown him to be greater and better in five 
'partiiyidars} (1 .) Greater than Abraham because he has tithed 

' So von Ilof. 

238 KESUME OF VII. 1-10. [vii. 11. 

Abraham (ver. 4) ; (2.) greater than the Ijevitical priesthood in 
that he took tithes without needing the warrant they had (ver. 
5, 6 a). (3.) Better than Abraham because he has blessed Abra- 
ham (vers. 6 6, 7). (4.) Better than the Levitical priesthood 
because he lives forever (ver. 8) ; and (5,) because they are 
involved in the inferiority confessed by Abraham when he paid 
tithes. All this concerns the greatness (jnjXtxog o5ro?) of This One 
considered in himself, and as contrasted with the priesthood to 
whom Jewishly inclined persons were giving precedence as means 
of access to God and as the ground of acceptability with God. 

Taking, now, the points gained, along with the elements (vers. 
1-3) from which he is reasoning, the Apostle proceeds to press 
further consequences of the utmost importance in the matter of 
salvation ; and now we observe, as a mark of the progress of 
thought, that these concern the greatness of This One considered 
with reference to those who need priestly mediation. 

Yer. 11. If then, indeed, there was perfection by means of the 
Levitical priesthood (for under it hath the people received law), 
what further need for a different priest to be raised up after the 
order of Melchizedek and not called after the order of Aaron ? 

This touches the vital matter of salvation. For T£Xe{w(Tt? = 
perfection means the goal of a perfect relation to God ; ^ and it is 
assumed that this is to be attained only through the mediation 
of priestly acts. It is not the Apostle's purpose here to prove 
that the law and the priesthood could make nothing perfect.^ 
He deals with this topic x. 1 sqq. Here he assails these directly 
with inferences founded on the elements enumerated above, taken 
with the conclusions of vers. 4—10, relating to the comparative 
greatness of Jesus. He assumes that perfection is what those 
seek who look to law and offerings and priests. The ability to 
make perfect is then the test of the adequacy of the Levitical 
priesthood. Whatever is adequate for a purpose, God has made 
so. And what He has made so He will not supersede by 
another agent. He will not even set up a competing agent.^ If 
then God appoints another priest, of a different order from those 

^ X. 1, 14 ; von Hof. ^ Against von Hof. 

^;fpe/a, necessitas. — Nam Deus nil facit frustra. Bengel. 


existing, it is evidence that the existing priesthood was not 
intended to give salvation. The .appointment of another order 
of priest is proof that there was need for it. The need appears 
in this, viz., tliat perfection must come through priestly mediation, 
and the existing priesthood did not mediate perfection. 

The «5> = then, continues the discourse inferentially with refer- 
ence to the matters already presented vers. 1-10. Theec'^if, 
introduces hypothetically the notion of the Levitical priesthood 
being the means of perfection, by which is intimated, that not 
this notion is to be considered, but another. Therefore, as said 
above, it is not the topic here to prove that the law and the 
Levitical priesthood could make nothing perfect. The other 
notion and actual topic is, that the Levitical priesthood would 
suffice, and there would be no need for another order of priest. 
Yet there is another order raised up ; and the question arises : 
what need of it ? The need appears in what is actually the 
effect of it. This effect the Apostle represents here. To the 
mention of the Levitical priesthood as related to perfection, ^the 
Apostle adds a parenthesis : or under it (/. c, this priesthood) 
the people received law. He adds this because the notion of 
perfection postulates law which is the criterion of the perfection. 
With the Levitical priesthood there was a corresponding law. 
The ^-' afjr^? rounder it, is to be taken temporally,^ as we say: 
under King William III. With the institution of the Leviti- 
cal order a corresponding law was given to the people whose 
priests they were, and- the priestly order itself had continuance 
by giving effect to that law. It is not the law of INIoses that is 
meant here, nor yet is it a different law ; ^ but it is the law for 
the people involved in the institution of the Levitical priesthood,^ 
according to whose prescriptions the people must seek the media- 
tion of the priesthood, and the priesthood must act as their media- 
tors. The priesthood and the corresponding law are, then, 
inseparable notions. And as they are conjoined here, so the 
Apostle continues, in the following context, to treat both as 
equally involved in the consequences attending the raising up 

' See Passow Lex., s. v., I. 3. ^ von Ilof., conip. ver. 19. 

' Against Liin., Alford, Del. 

240 THE LAW ALSO CHANGED. [vii. 12. 

of another order of priesthood. In the case thus put hypotlie- 
tieally, the Apostle asks : what need still for a different (lr;/joy) 
priest to be raised up {fhirrraafiat passive, not middle) ^ after the 
order of Melchizedek, and called not after the order of Aaron? 
The 00 connects with /.ara r. -d^iv A.^ as what is expressed is, 
that by naming him after Melchizedek it is meant he is declared 
not to be an Aaronic priest. The anaraanat. is to be taken pas- 
sively because it is important here, as before,^ that this priest is 
raised up as such by God's act declared Ps. ex., and not that he 
arises of himself. What God wills is fundamental in all this 
argument. And so the question is contemplated in the light of 
the past when God spake in Ps, ex. The r^^ - was expresses : if 
there was then perfection by the Aaronic priesthood. 

In justification of the question now proposed, the Apostle 
expresses what is involved in instituting another order of priest- 

Ver 12. For if the priesthood is changed, there takes place 
also a change of law. 

Thus we translate //srarn^e/j'ivrj? r. hpu}abvTj<i^ to avoid giving 
the impression that the Author speaks of a past transaction, as 
the rendering : " the priesthood being changed " ^ would do. He 
is stating a universal proposition. And the first clause implies 
the unexpressed affirmation, that raising up another order of 
priest expressly called not Aaronic, is a change of priesthood. 
Thus it connects by for with ver. 11. The mention of law here 
connects with the parenthesis of ver. 11, and the affirmation of 
our verse is on the ground of the close relation of the priesthood 
and law there noticed.^ The Apostle speaks here of change, 
whereas at ver. 18, he comes out with the more sweeping state- 
ment of " abrogation " = a.9fr55<7r9. There seems in this an 
intentional mildness of expression,'^ as if to let the truth grow on 
the readers, and not to alarm them by precipitating all of the 

'With von Hof., comp. Acts iii. 22; vii. 37; xiii. 32, against e. g., Bleek, 
de Wette, Liin., Eng. Verss. 1611; 1881. 

2 von Hof., Liin., Alf ird. » v. 5, 6. * With Alford. 

* E. Version, 1611 and 1881. * So Liin., AKord, against Del. 

^ Liin., Alford. 

vii. 13, 14.] JESUS OF the tribe of judaii. 241 

conclusion. Yet stated as in our verse, the trutli is radical and 
revolutionary. But it is axiomatic. The only question tliat can 
arise is, whether there is actually a change in the priesthood. 
The Apostle, accordingly, having intimated that there is, proceeds 
to fortify the statement. Speaking from his Psalm text ex. 4, as 
God's declaration concerning Christ, and assuming that Jesus is 
the Christ, the Apostle proceeds to give additional proof that 
making hhn priest changes the priesthood, beside the proof found 
in His beinff called after Melchizedek and not after Aaron. This 
proof apjicars in what are the facts concerning Jesus himself. 

Ver. 13. For he of whom these things are said, hath par- 
taken of a different tribe, from which no one hath given attend- 
ance at the altar. 14. For it is evident that our Lord hath sprung 
out of Judah, with reference to which tribe Moses said nothing 
concerning priests. 

The For does not connect with verse 12 to adduce proof that 
there is a change of law.^ What is stated as a necessary effect 
(f ? d.vdyx-q^) needs no proof. For refers to the unexpressed affirm- 
ation implied in the premise : " if the priesthood is changed " 
(ver. 12), which, connected by " for" with the mention (ver. 11) 
of " a different priest not called Aaronic," expresses the full 
import of that fact. 

By : are said, ver. 13, reference is had to Ps. ex., which is the 
Apostle's text. By Tobra = these things, is meant the saying 
"thou art a priest," etc., as the notion Melchizedek has been 
amplified in vers. 1-3. The : different tribe, means other than 
the tribe of Levi. Nothing can make the statements of our 
verses plainer than they appear there. 

But we may pause to remark ^ that ver. 14 shows that no 
perplexity was experienced at the time of this writing about the 
genealogy of Jesus ; and such authority as the Author abund- 
antly compensates for weakness that appears in the chain of evi- 
dence we now have that He was descended as was claimed. 
Rem olim liquidam fuisse, et constat et sriffidt. The Author, 
indeed, assumes only that Jesus was of the tribe of Judah, 
because that is precisely what is important to his argument. But 

* Against Liin., Alford, Davidson. * With Bengel. 


242 OUR LORD. [vii. 15, 16. 

the claim that Jesus descended from David was made as promi- 
nent and as important as that he descended from Judali. In the 
first preaching of the gospel the two were so combined, with such 
special stress on the Davidic descent of Jesus, that such a refer- 
ence as ver. 14, to one part of the current behef of Christians at 
that time involves the acceptance of the other. 

The Apostle uses the expression : our Lord, on which it is 
worth remarking, that this is the only place in scrijjture where 
Christ is so called ; 2 Pet. iii. 15, being hardly an exception.^ 

It confirms our construction of the foregoing context from ver. 
4 (in which we regard Jesus, the Melchizedekian priest, as the 
direct subject of all that seems to others to be said of Melchize- 
dek himself), that here and onwards to ver. 25, Jesus is expressed 
as the subject. This occurs : (a) without anything to note a 
change of subject, but only as our Author must name it, and 
not leave it too long unnamed, and, as here, sustained only by a 
demonstrative pronoun (ouro?) ; and (6) with no change in the 
nature of the things afiirmed of the subject, but, on the contrary, 
Avith reiteration of identical notions, as in vers. 15, 16, and 23, 
24 ; comp. vers. 3, 8. 

Ver. 1 5. And it (i. e., what we say) is yet more abundantly evi- 
dent, if after the likeness of Melchizedek there is raised up a dif- 
ferent priest, 16. Who has become [priest] not according to a law 
of a carnal commandment, but according to a power of an endless 

We have noted at ver. 12 that the Apostle has stated an 
axiomatic proposition, the only debatable term of which is, 
whether there is really a change of the priesthood. In support 
of this premise, as the notion has been intimated or assumed in 
the hypothetical clause of ver 12, he has adduced the statement of 
vers. 13, 14. He adduces further support of this in our verses 
15,16. What he means as being more abundantly evident is 
the change of priesthood which needs proof, and not that the law 
is changed,^ which, as has been noted, needs no proof, but is 
affirmed to be a necessary consequence of the former. Yet owing 

' Alford ; but comp. rbv Kvptov fifiuv 'Irjcovv xiii. 20, and ii. 3 ; xii. 14. 
^ Against Lun., Alford, Davidson ; with Stuart. 

vii. 15, 16.] aviarazai. 243 

to the identity of the two notions already expressed, a main point 
of the argument is, that the law, as well as the priesthood, is 
changed, which is established by establishing that there is a 
change of priesthood. God's raising up {/vAffrarat is to be taken 
as passive and not middle, for the same reasons given ver. 11, 
regarding dviazaaliat) a priest of a difierent order, and the priest 
being accordingly taken from a different tril)e (as vers. 13, 14), 
are evidence of God's changing the priesthood. This is still 
more evident if this different priest remains forever a priest; 
obviously because the order is thus perpetuated with all that 
makes it different and distinct. Being thus instituted by God, 
he means that his people shall look to this priest, and not to the 
existing priesthood. Such is the argument. In the Apostle's 
statement of it, his mention of a different priest resumes the 
notion established vers. 13, 14, to add another trait of this priest. 
The representations of our present verses are not meant to 
explain the notion : different.^ And, similarly : after the likeness 
of Melchizedek, resu)nes the idea already expressed or rather 
expressly assumed ver. 11, and is therefore not expressed for the 
purpose of having the likeness defined by ver 16.^ The Author, 
then, in the expression : if after the order of Melchizedek a differ- 
ent priest,^ resumes the two essential facts already established, 
and in the order of their previous mention, to add another and 
crowning one in the present argument, and so presents all 
together as convincingly evidential (xardSriXav) of the fact that 
there is a change of priesthood. The additional statement : who 
has become a priest, etc., is made on the authority of the Psalm 
text, as the citing of it, ver. 17 shows. It is substantially, that 
Jesus, this different priest, remains forever. But this is expressed 
in a way to point the contrast with the changeable Aaronic 
priesthood. He has become priest not according to a law of a car- 
nal commandment, and thereby is intimated that the Aaronic 
priests did so become priests, which explains their being change- 
able, i. e., that tliey were not intended to be a perpetual order. 
By law, without the article we must understand the same as in 

^ Against Lun,, etc. ^ Against Del., von Ilof. ^ Comp. 1 Cor. xv. 32. 

244 A THREEFOLD CONTRAST. [vii. 15, 16. 

ver. 11. Defined as : of a carnal commandment (^i^roA^? aa-p/.i^-qif 
aud limited to ordinances instituting and regulating the Aaronic 
priesthood, etc., according to the antithesis presented by the fol- 
lowing clause, this law concerned things of flesh. The men it 
made priests, with all that they became, and performed by such 
law, were left in the natural state of changeable and perishable 
life. As such they might be expected to pass away. This '' dif- 
ferent priest," on the contrary, became such according to power 
of indissoluble life. Not by law at all, therefore; but by power 
and according to life, and a life that is described as indissoluble, 
not subject to change or death, as flesh is. 

It may even be doing more justice to the Apostle's thought 
to understand ^ that he points a threefold contrast, viz., of law 
and power, commandment and life, carnal and indissoluble. The 
Aaronic priesthood was instituted by law : this other Priest by 
power. And, for explanation of what is meant, we may take 
V. 5, 6, which represents how Christ was made priest by the im- 
mediate ^ai of God. The Aaronic priesthood manifested itself 
and was operative by means of commandments, which it kept 
and gave to the people ; this other Priesthood manifested itself 
in life, which Christ has in Himself and gives to His people.^ 
The commandment with which the Aaronic priesthood was 
identified, " belonged to that preliminary pedagogic stage that 
was not yet concerned with implanting a spiritual life in man- 
kind dead through sin, but dealt only wnth the outward limits of 
sin and types of salvation for natural and fleshly men. (This is 
the meaning aapy.ix6<i Gal. iii. 3). The life [of this other Priest] 
is made indissoluble, i. e., it has in it the forces of eternity." * 

The opinion is maintained, that the Apostle affirms this indis- 
soluble life of Jesus only as exalted after death to be a High Priest 
forever. And von Hofmann expressly appeals to the fact that, 
while in the flesh, Jesus was subject to change and death as other 
men, and accordingly died. But to this consideration just named, 

' Instead of capKCKfj^ of the Recept. ; so all the editions ; Liin., von Hof., 

" With Ebrard, who appeals to Carpzov, Kuinoel. 

' Comp. John v. 21, 26 ; 1 Cor. xv. 45. * Ebrard ; against Del. 

vii. 17.] THE ARGUMENT VII. 4-18. 245 

it may be opposed, that Apostolic preaching claimed for Jesus a 
life that made it impossible for Him to be holden of death.* 
And from our context, we observe that the Apostle speaks of 
Jesus as descended from Judah, and as such, with this evidence 
on him of being a different priest from those descended from 
Levi, he describes him as having become priest according to 
power of indissoluble life. Did he mean that He was such a 
priest, not as Jesus of the tribe of Judah, but only in respect to 
His exhaltation to heaven, it would need to be expressed here. 
We maintain, therefore, as has always been understood, that the 
Apostle means here " the life of Christ in general ; he had the 
power of imperishable life in Himself from the beginning, 
althoug-h it was not till His resurrection that this was revealed." ^ 

In proof of the important statement he has just made, the 
Apostle once more quotes his Psalm text. 

Ver. 17. For it is testified that Thou art priest forever after 
the order of Melchizedek. 

The emphasis is on forever and on that alone. 

The Apostle, having represented the comparative greatness of 
the Melchizedek Priest (vers. 4-10), by reference to the elements 
enumerated vers. 1-3, has now (vers. 11-1 7), we observe, pressed 
the fact, also intimated vers. 3, 4, that this is a different order of 
priesthood from the Aaronic. A different order means a change 
of priesthood, and a change of priesthood means a change of law 
pertaining to such an institution. The change of priesthood can 
be the only doubtful thing. He has, therefore, directed his dis- 
course to that. Everything that shows it to be different is proof 
that there has been such a change. He has pointed to three 
marks : («) it is called by a different name ; (b) the Priest is 
from another tribe than Levi ; (c) he is a Priest that remains 
forever. The priesthood has, then, been changed by that divine 
word of Ps. ex. Consequently, the law concerning priests, and 
concerning the people who need their mediation, is changed. 

The Apostle introduced this part of the subject by asking : 

^ Acts ii. 24 ; John x. 15-18. And see below xiii. 20, and von lloimann's 
* Eiehm p. 458, Anmerk ; and Liin., Lindsay. 


what need is there for such a change of priesthood, if the Levit- 
ical could be the means of perfection ? This intimates that there 
was need for the change, viz., in the essential matter of coming 
to enjoy a perfect relation toward God. It was not to glorify 
God by two orders of priests instead of one. It was instituting a 
Priest to do what the other order could not do. With ver. 17, 
the Apostle has finished the proof that there has been raised up a 
totally different order of Priest, and that thus the priesthood has 
been changed. He now proceeds to represent the consequence 
already expressed, viz., that there is a change of law, and that 
this is in order to secure the perfection that made another order 
than the Levitical priesthood necessary. 

Ver. 18. For, indeed, an abrogation takes place of a fore- 
going commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness 
19. (for the law perfected nothing), but a bringing in thereupon of a 
better hope [takes place] through which we draw near to God. 

In the present statement of the notion already expressed ver. 
12, the Apostle gives it as an ascertained conclusion, and now 
expresses it in its whole extent. The commandment involved in 
the Aaronic priesthood is changed to the extent of abrogation. 
For such is the meaning of d'^TTjfft? = " abolition." ^ He calls the 
commandment : a foregoing commandment, /. e., antecedent to "the 
word of the oath," ^ and thus intimates that it was in its intention 
only provisional. He says, moreover, it was weak and profitless, 
and thus explains how it could only be provisional. Unprofitable 
expresses its relation to those for whom it was a commandment, 
viz., the people, and in the present connection the sense is : it is 
unprofitable to mediate perfection,^ vii. 18, 19, f. e., to save.* 
"Our ver. 18 is not a general statement, but declares what hap- 
pens when the Melchizedek Priest is raised up. Thus the em- 
phasis rests on that fact, and not the explanation : dul rd adzTj^ 
d(T&svh X. dvoj<J>£Xig, where the neuter adjective is used instead of 
the abstract substantive, because it is not so much a quality of 
the commandment that is mentioned, as the actual fact, that it 
was weak and profitless, and inasmuch as it was so." ^ In jus- 

•" Grimm., Lex.. Alford. ^ comp. ver. 28. " ^ ver. 11. 

* ver. 25. s ^qq g^f . against Del. 

vii. 18, 19.] A BETTER HOPE BROUGHT IN. 247 

tification of what he says about the commandment, the Apostle 
adds, in parenthesis, that the law generally, of which the com- 
mandment in question formed so fundamental a part, brought 
nothing to perfection, and has in no respect brought about a 
perfect relation to God.^ 

As the antithesis ^ of the commandment and of the actual ex- 
perience of its unprofitableness and of its consequent abrogation, 
the Apostle declares (still expounding his Psalm-text) : a bringing 
in thereupon of a better hope [takes place.] The e-i in i-ztGaywy-q 
expresses that the new enters there where hitherto the old existed. 
The priesthood with its commandment is abrogated, and in the 
place comes the Priest and hope. 

The word better does not express comparison between some- 
thing common to the commandment and to what takes the place 
of the commandment, as if both presented hope, but the latter a 
better hope. ^ The commandment and hope are contrasted. 
The former is found to be profitless, i. e., good for nothing in the 
matter of perfection, though not profitless in every respect. The 
hope that comes in its place is better than it, because it is profit- 
able in the very respect in which the other is not. And this 
profitableness is expressed in the words ; through which we draw 
near to God. ^Drawing near to God can only be truly done by 
virtue of the perfection tnat comes through priestly mediation. 
This better hope is the same that has been set forth so gloriously 
vi. 19, as entering within the vail, where Christ has entered into 
the presence of God, a forerunner for us. Here it is consistently 
represented as that by which we draw near to God. We follow 
our forerunner. Our hope is where he is, and is what he makes 
it there. He, as priest, has drawn near to God, and brings us 

Every reader of our vers. 18, 19 is reminded of Gal. iv. 9 ; 
Rom. viii. 3. " No one can doubt that it is one of those coinci- 
dences which could hardly take place where there was not com- 
mvmity of thought and diction," * We think, however, that we 
trace still more ; even nothing less than a common author. 

1 von Hof. 2 jjiEv — df, with Liiu., Del., von Hof. ; against Alford. 

^ Against von Hof. ♦ Alford. 

248 DOES PAUL WRITE THIS? [vii, 18, 19. 

The likeness of our context extends to a likeness between vers. 
16 and Rom. viii. 2, where ; " the law of the spirit of life in 
Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and death/' seems 
to be the very truth expressed by calling Christ : "a priest 
raised up not according to a law of carnal commandment, but 
according to power of life indissoluble." It is the same truth 
doing service in Rom. viii., among Gentile Christians, as here it 
does service among Jewish Christians. It is but the same 
Author speaking in two situations, as it is the same truth for two 
different relations. It is evident enough, " that the circle of 
ideas in which we find ourselves here is, although a substantially 
allied, yet a somewhat different one from that of those two 
Pauline Epistles." ' But some, ^ while admitting this, find in 
rs}.£iiU(Tc? an un-Pauline way of expressing the sum of all Chris- 
tian aims : and d<r'9£v^9 and dvuxpeXi^, as describing the law, to 
mean something less revolutionary of previous notions of law than 
the similar utterances in Romans and Galatians. As for the latter, 
with df'iirrjffo} ivro^^ before our eyes, we fail to see any truth in the 
view. As for reX^iuxn^ and TeXtuwv, there is a peculiar fitness in 
such terms when discoursing, as our Author does, to Jewish 
Christians on the subjects here presented ; whereas, when addressing 
Gentile Christians, he might find TzXr^pouv and TzkrjpujijLa,^ adequate 
expressions for the same ideas as applied to their case. So Paul 

continues I. C. Rom. viii. 4, ha rd 8ua{uj/j.a r. vu/j.ou Tikrjfxjjd^fi h ijixiv. 

The Apostle has shown the comparative greatness of the Mel- 
chizedek Priest, as to his dignity considered in itself (vers. 4-11). 
He then shows his superiority considered with reference to the 
need of the people by pressing the consequence of his being 
raised up a different order of priest, viz., that it means the abro- 
gation of the Aaronic priesthood and law (vers. 11-19). In the 
conclusion of this second argument, he also declares what the 
Melchizedek Priest brings in with his new order, viz., " a better 
hope by which we draw near to God." This is a chief thought 
in all the presentation of Christ from iv. 14-16 ; and has been 

1 Del. "^ e. g. Del. 

'Eph. iii. 19; iv. 13; Phil. i. 11 ; Col. i. 10, 24, 25; u. 10; iv. 12, where 
mark the teIeiol nal irerrXripocjiopTinEvoi Rec. Tve-Kltjpup^voi-, 2. Thess. i. 11, 12. 

vii. 20-22.] THE PRIEST BY GOD's OATH. 249 

repeated vi. 19. And this key note will (ix. 1 — x. 19 sqq.), be 
" expanded into a whole strain of argument." ^ At this point 
the Apostle uses it to set forth in another light the superiority of 
the Melchizedek Priest to the Aarouic priesthood. We say, 
another light, viz., in the following respect. In verses 11-19, 
that superiority has been set forth negatively, as it involves the 
abrogation of the Aaronic priesthood and showing how that 
was treated as weak and profitless. The superiority is now to 
be set forth "positively, as it appears in its own intrinsic worth. 
This is already presented, as just said, in the concluding words 
of verse 19. Therefore, what is added is appropriately conjoined 
by zar=And. 

Ver. 20 («). And inasmuch as not without an oath [does this 
induction of a better hope take place] . . 22. by so much also 
hath Jesus become surety of a better covenant. 

The ellipsis in ver. 20 must be supplied from the statement 
immediately preceding,^ which requires nothing more than a 
yvjtzai to be understood. The emphasis of the thought just 
expressed ver. 19, would make the reader supply it as subject 
here, unless the words immediately following would pointedly 
present another. It is obvious, however, that such is not the 
case, from the fact that those who look there for the subject are 

divided whether to supply hpzh<i ian^ yeyo'^ib^^ or diai^xTjg eyyuixi 

yiyove} With regard to the former of these, it would seem 
enough that it is left to be supplied once in the very clause itself, 
from which it would be drawn as subject for ver. 20 a. In 
regard to the latter, the long parenthesis ver. 20 6 21, makes it 
much too remote. In the foregoing translation, we have left out 
the parenthesis (ver. 20 6-21) by which the Apostle represents 
how it was a fact that the better hope was brought in by an oath. 
He does this by quoting again his Psalm text (ex. 4) ; this time 
citing the words that are to the point : The Lord sware and will 
not repent himself, and which he has so far made no use of in 
this extended exposition of the text. At the same time he 
omits : " after the order of Melchizcdek." That the oath which 

' Alford. * So Del., von Hof., de Wette, BIcek ; against Alford, etc. 

* Lun. * Ebrard, Alford. 

250 SUEETY OF A BETTER COVENANT. [vii. 20-22. 

made Christ a priest brought in the better hope is precisely the 
result reached by his antecedent exposition vers. 11-19. The 
Psalm is not again quoted to prove that, but to remind that it 
was done by an oath, and to point the precise significance of the 
oath, viz., that what was established thus was never to be changed 
(and will not repent himself). In this representation, a contrast 
is made between the Aaronic priesthood and Christ as Melchize- 
dek priest (o? jih — 6 Si) ; for they, without an oath, are the priests 
they became {siah yeyoWj-r-^) ^ but he with an oath by him who saith 
unto^ him, etc. The time of saying this is iu the Psalm, that is 
conceived of as a contiuuedly present word of God. This explains 
the ToD ?.iyu'^T(i?, and also answers^ the captiousness that would 
object that, in the Psalm itself, only the latter words of the 
clause : a);ioffev . . aicu'^a, are imputed to God. The affirmation 
that the Aaronic priests were not established by an oath, neither 
in general, nor successively and singly, is founded, not merely on 
the absence of any record to that effect, but also (and this rather), 
on what was known of the priests that were {eitrry)* at the time 
of this writing. The point of the contrast here made is, that 
seeing God made Christ a priest with an oath, and the oath was 
the guarantee that there should be no change in this, therefore 
it is intimated, that the priests that were made priests without 
an oath might be changed. God had not guaranteed their per- 
petuity. Thus the Aaronic priesthood with its commandment 
was left liable to be changed, whereas, the Melchizedek Priest 
and His better hope were established in perpetuity. Speaking, 
then, of the better hope coming to pass by an oath, the Author 
says, inasmuch, as this was so, by so much also hath Jesus become 
surety of a better covenant. 

The bettemess means here the unchangeable perpetuity of the 
hope connected with this ]\Ielchizedek Priest. The contrast of 
the parenthesis shows this. By so much expresses measure, and 
the oath with the unchangeable priesthood it establishes is the 
measure. The same hope has been described (vi. 19) as " sure 

^ Not the same as yey6va<jLv ; with Del., von Hof., Alford ; against de Wette, 
Liin. The following yeyove marks that a difference is intended. 
2 irpdg^ comp. i. 7. ^ So von Hof. * See Alford. 

vii. 20—22.] eyyuo'i, fitairrj?. 251 

and steadfast." But the Apostle here says : covenant, and not 
" hope." This is not because he means something wholly differ- 
ent, which is impossible, owing to the logical connection with 
the premise : inasmuch as not without an oath it came about, viz., 
" the better hope." And whatever is supplied in the premise, 
the same relation would exist between that and covenant. By 
saying : better covenant, the Apostle indirectly affirms that the 
better hope is based on a covenant, which is better for the same 
reason that the hope is. In fact, this is a warning note of a new 
phase of his theme, that the Apostle means to amplify, and on 
which he enters viii. 7 sqq. We have had other instances of the 
same manner of introducing his topics of discourse, and we shall 
have more. Of this covenant, he says : Jesus has become surety. 
A surety (syyuo?) is one that is pledged as guaranteeing a thing 
e. g., an agreement or promise. Jesus is such in relation to a better 
covenant that concerns " a better hope," because, according to 
the context as just explained, the oath that makes His priesthood 
perpetual makes the better hope " sure and steadfast," and makes 
the better covenant the same. As for when, or how He became 
surety, the context offers no other idea than that it was by the 
oath that made him Melchizcdek Priest. And this is what is 
meant and no more ; and it is surely enough. We must not 
confound the notions of surety and mediator (/^crrtVi;?, viii. 6). It 
is such confusion when the surety of Jesus for the covenant, is 
supposed to be by virtue of His having offered Himself here and 
of His presence with God now.^ Jesus is surety for the covenant 
and the promise because He and they are identified ; the Mel- 
chizedek Priest and the promise, as the bondsman and the bond. 
What makes His priesthood sure and unfailing, makes the cov- 
enant and hope sure in the same degree. The context contem- 
plates Jesus only as priest, and the only thing that makes Him 
sure as a priest is the oath that made Him such, and that is never 
to change. 

The Author here again, as has been noted above in anticipa- 
tion, names Jesus as the subject of whom he speaks as he expounds 
the meaning of Ps. ex. 4. In vers. 24, 25, he applies to Him 

* Against Del. 


the notion of perpetuity expressed in the Psalm, that he has 
already applied vers. 3, 8, 16, 17. Though the names Melchiz- 
edek and Jesus suggest different subjects, there is nothing in all 
the context vers. 1-25, that expressly distinguishes them, e. g., 
as the ol /J.SV — o di distinguish Jesus and the Aaronic priesthood. 
On the other hand, the representations drawn from Ps. ex. 4 are 
applied in a uniform manner to the subject, whether named Mel- 
chizedek or Jesus, or represented by the pronouns outo?, o?. We 
maintain, therefore, that in all this representation, only one sub- 
ject is meant, viz., Jesus Melchizedek. 

The Apostle adds one more consideration from Ps. ex. 4, to 
illustrate the superiority of Christ's priesthood to the Aaronic, 
and it is the second in illustration of the positive aspect of this 
subject, viz., his merit with respect to those who need priestly 

Yer, 23. And they, indeed, are a plurality become priests, 
because hindered by death from remaining ; 24. but he, because he 
remains forever, has his priesthood unchangeable ; 

This thought, as derived from Ps. ex., has been used before, 
ver. 8, in reference to tithing, to illustrate the superiority of the 
Melchizedek Priest in respect to dignity and in himself consid- 
ered ; and again, vers. 15-17, to show that superiority with ref- 
erence to the existing priesthood, marking a different order of 
priesthood and as being something before which the latter must 
change and go down. Here it is used again to represent, that 
the INIelchizedek Priest is never to yield his priesthood to 
another.^ Thus, not only the priesthood, but the Priest remain 
the same. And Jesus is the surety of a better covenant as one 
that remains forever to give it effect Himself. 

In pointing the contrast here, it is said that the existing priest- 
hood are become such in numbers or plurality. We need not 
suppose the appeal is to anything but the familiar fact. The 
reason for the fact is assigned : they were hindered by death from 
remaining-, i. e., remaining the priests they were;^ (not: remain- 
ing alive).^ And when it is said of Jesus : because he remains 
forever, the contrast is, that the existing priests were subject to 

^ von Hof., Del., Liin., Alford. ^ von Hof., Del., Alford. ^ Liin. 


death which put an end to their priestly activity/ This contrast 
of many always changing, and One that remains in possession of 
His priesthood, discharging its functions, makes the latter as a 
person totally different from the others as persons. The persons 
of the others counted for nothing. This Person counts for 
everything. His office, its functions, in fact everything is summed 
up in Himself. He makes perfect. He saves. This conclusion 
the Author proceeds to draw without pause : 

Ver. 25. Whence also he is able to save to the uttermost those 
approaching God through him, ever living as he does to intercede 
for them. 

This, we say follows without pause, and, with most editions 

of the text,^ we would sever it from what precedes only by a 

The £19 rd ■!:avTtli<s means " wholly, completely," comprehend- 
ing the utmost that is involved in the predicate. As in Luke 
xiii. 11 (the only instance of its use in the New Testament 
beside here), it means that the woman could not raise herself 
completely, i. e.., to the perfect uprightness proper to the human 
form. So Jesus can do everything that pertains to saving. 
To save is the emphatic notion here, and not that he is able, as the 
position of <7(I)'^£tv in the sentence shows. But it is to save, as the 
verbal notion is completed by the adverbial d<? to ravr^A^?, that 
is emphatic. Saying that Jesus is able to save to the uttermost, 
expresses a contrast with the Levitical priesthood and what was 
inferentially expressed concerning it (ver. 11), viz.: that perfec- 
tion was not to be had through them. Whatever they could do 
about salvation, it was not to the uttermost. The Author will 
show later how far it was from saving at all.^ But by declaring 
here that Jesus can save to the uttermost, he shows that there is 
no need for another Saviour. He will put it more uncompromis- 
ingly further on, that there is no other way of salvation. Such 
being the only indication of the context as to what is here meant by 
to save, we see that it has its usual solemn New Testament sense 
of rescuing from sin and condemnation,^ or in other words, the 

* von Hof. * Against Alford, von Hof. 

" Comp. ix. 9, 10 ; X. 1 -4. * Bleek, Alford. 


same meaning with which the Author uses the substantive " sal- 
vation " (fftDTfjpia,)} 

We must, therefore, reject the view ^ that understands the sal- 
vation to refer only to deliverance out of such trials as those 
experience who are already delivered from sin and have received 
salvation. The appeal to iv. 14, as connecting further with ii. 
18, does not corroborate that view. The present statement of 
Christ's effective work in saving must be ifhderstood to be a 
reiteration of what is expressed hortatively {Tzpuffepx^iJ-encx) iv. 16. 
But we have seen in that place, that what is meant is the 
approaching of those under the law and its condemnation to enter 
the better and saving relations of the new covenant. And what : 
" obtain mercy and find grace " means there, to save means here. 
The Apostle is now at the threshold of that part of his subject 
that treats of the new covenant relations of which Christ is the 
Mediator. It is in chap. viii. ; and our present ver. 25 with 26- 
28, make a transition to it. There the crowning blessing of the 
relation that Christ mediates is the promise : " I will be merciful 
to their iniquities and their sins I will remember no more." 
That expresses the salvation meant here by : to save, both as to 
the uttermost [eW rd -a'^rsXig) and as to the ever (Trdwore). It is 
because Jesus as the Melchizedek Priest ever lives to make inter- 
cession, that the iniquities will be remembered no more ; and 
because He is such a High Priest as hereafter described, that the 
iniquities are blotted out in mercy. Lives to make intercession 
is stated as the equivalent of what is expressed ver. 25 a. The 
Apostle does not think of a priest without the functions of 
a priest. 

Here, as at ii. 3-18; iv. 16, and as he continues to do viii. 
7-12 ; ix. 14, 15 ; x. 2-4, the Author treats his readers as Jews 
were to be treated, viz., as sinners under revealed law and con- 
demned by it, and to be delivered from its condemnation. And 
when he speaks of salvation he means that deliverance. 

In the present ver. 25 it is said, Jesus is able to save those 
that approach unto God through him. The 7rpo(Tepxo,aivou9 does not 
express a different notion from the lyyiZoixsv {\ev. 19); yet it 

1 i. 14 ; ii. 3, 10 ; v. 9 ; vi. 9. ^ Of von Hof. 


seems to express more, as being the more appropriate word for 
that which is doue " with boldness," ^ and finished by being with 
God and remaining there, while lyyi'^eiv was the technical term 
for that drawing near that was done only in a typical way and 
needed to be continually repeated. This approach to God is 
through Jesus, i. e., by means of {dui) Jesus. Those that so 
approach He can save, and no others. 

It is to be noted that ever liveth reiterates the expression of 
ver. 14 : " because He remains forever. He has His priesthood 
unchangeable." This gives special prominence to the truth 
so expressed, as constituting the crowning characteristic that 
marks the pre-eminence of Christ's priesthood compared with 
the Levitical priesthood, and the signal trait that seals all the 
other traits of pre-eminence that have been enumerated. 

As at this point the Apostle has finished the reference to Mel- 
chizedek, and with that his exposition of Ps. ex. 4, excepting a 
reference that occurs ver. 38, we may here pause to make some 
reflections on both. 

The exposition of the Psalm text is the most remarkable 
example of scriptural exposition that we have from an inspired 
writer. As an example of exposition alone it claims the most 
careful study. It is the more comprehensive as a study, because 
it involves a reference to other matter of record in scripture, viz., 
Gen. xiv. 18-20. Of his Psalm text the Apostle does not leave 
a single word unnoticed. He builds successively on each as on 
a foundation of rock. He appeals to it as a word that God 
spoke long ago, and that he speaks now while the Author writes. 
He takes it as spoken of Christ; and as not needing a prelimi- 
nary word to explain that such was its original meaning. We 
have seen above at i. 13, that there was the fullest justification 
for his doing this, as far as Jewish readers were concerned. It 
is, however, a gross misunderstanding of the spirit with which 
he treats the scripture, to suppose that this appeal to Ps. ex. is a 
species of argumentum ad hominem, or merely taking his readers 
on their own ground. It is less, but only less, unworthy to see 
in his reasoning from Ps. ex. and Gen. xiv., only the manner 

1 iv. 16. 


peculiar to Rabbinical schools. A scholar that was held captive 
by Rabbinical school dialectics could never have come to such an 
imderstanding of Christ as is taught from these texts. Nor 
could one that has such truth to teach commend it by any species 
of argumenium ad hominem conducted so seriously, and at 
such length, and with no claim to any other foundation for what 
he says than God's express meaning and purpose. In the use the 
Apostle makes of his Psalm text, and of Gen. xiv., as the origi- 
nal record that furnishes the foundation fol* the Psalmist's word, 
he uses the scripture as the infallible word of God, and regards 
the Psalmist as doing the same. Infallible, we mean, both in 
the sense, that the scripture word before him is accurate and 
exact as a record, and that it is true in respect to the matter 
revealed. And this appeal is without anything to intimate that 
the scripture in question had any singular advantage over- other 
Holy Scripture in point of credibility, authenticity or genuine- 
ness. It is all with a manner that betokens that the Author 
would use any text of the same scrij^tures in the same way. It 
is only in his treatment of Gen. xiv. 18-20 that the Author 
seems to resort to a strange method of interpretation. Yet we 
see that this impression is due more to errors about his meaning 
than to what he actually represents. Whoever agrees with the 
foregoing explanations of vii. 1-25, in other words, understands 
Jesus alone, and not Melchizedek, to be the subject of all that is 
represented, will feel, with ourselves, that there is nothing far- 
fetched or strained in the Author's exposition. His inferences 
from the silence of scripture are just and according to common 
sense, and such as every expositor must make, and as, in fact, are 
made every day in interpreting common human discourse. In 
the reliance he places on every word of scripture, and in his 
method of interpreting it, the Apostle gives in this exposition a 
plain, impressive and stimulating example to every student of 

On the IMelchizedek subject itself, after having gone through 
it with the patient scrutiny, and having been rewarded by the 
clear result of the foregoing investigation, we are sensible of a 
feeling of disappointment. And we suppose that in other minds 


there may arise the exclamation : is that all ! In the plainness 
of the subject we miss a correspondence with the anticipation we 
had in approaching it. The result seems not to correspond even 
to the air of importance that breathes in the representation of 
the subject. But if the passage has been correctly understood 
and explained, it is, of course, obvious that the passage itself is 
not to be found fault with for the feeling of disappointment. 
This arises from something extraneous to the passage and to the 
subject it presents. We think it is due to the difficulty we find 
in putting ourselves in the place of the original readers. And 
what is our difficulty has been the difficulty of Gentile Chris- 
tian readers from the first. We never had a religion of a divinely 
appointed priesthood, and sacrifices and commandments. We 
never knew what it was to rely on them as the means of pleas- 
ing God, who instituted them. The heathen have similar things ; 
but their worship was never revealed by the God of that Christ 
whom they are called to believe and follow. They are not per- 
plexed by the fact that the things they must forsake were once 
the true means of grace and of acceptable worship, and used by 
Christ himself, and that they continued to be observed by his 
Apostles even after Christ was perfected and exalted to the right 
hand of God. We cannot, therefore, feel what it was to a Chris- 
tian Jew to be told, that all was changed about the Aarouic 
priesthood and its attending commandment ; that something else 
had come in its place ; that it never could establish a complete 
relation to God, and was never intended to do so ; but that God 
had raised up another priest for that, and declared his purpose to 
do so long ago ; that Jesus was that Melchizedek Priest ; and 
that to Him and Him only they must look for the perfection 
they had vainly supposed was to be had through the Aaronic 
priesthood. We cannot, therefore, feel the sentiment of dread 
and wonder with which a Jewish Christian, who still cherished 
much of these false hopes, would follow an Apostle's reasoning 
from an express and plain declaration of God's word. We can 
hardly suspect the emotions with which he would sec the follow- 
ing positions well taken and convincingly established : Christ 
made of God a Priest ; greater than Abraham, and so, of course, 


258 HOW IT MUST AFFECT JEWS. [vii. 25. 

greater than Levi and all descended from him ; Christ's a dis- 
tinct order of priesthood, with traits of superiority, especially its 
perpetuity, all indicating that the institution of that priesthood 
meant the abrogation of the existing one : Christ's priesthood 
endowed with the virtue of providing perfection that brings sin- 
ners to God, that the existing priesthood confessedly, at least to 
the Psalmist, had not ; and instituted by an oath securing its 
perpetuity, which oath gives the utmost significance to the fact 
that the existing priesthood was never so instituted (viz., that it 
lacked what was essential to its perpetuity) ; and Christ the 
Priest Himself everlasting, while existing priests were dying and 
others taking their places. To one still held by the old religious 
sentiments of the Jews, each of these points, as it came clearly 
to view, must have been apprehended with bated breath and 
beating heart, and with a sentiment of fear as long as conviction 
trembled in the balance. And the Apostle, on his part, conducts 
his argument as one that deals with minds in this state, unflinch- 
ingly, convincingly, yet withal considerately. The whole passage 
has an unmistakeable air of communicating something of the 
greatest importance, unfamiliar, unexpected. We suspect that 
the unsympathetic Gentile mind, missing the real importance of 
the communication, yet apprehending the spirit of importance 
that breathes in the whole passage, has been misled. Finding 
nothing in the real meaning of it to impress them deeply (for 
what was the Aaronic priesthood to them), Gentile readers sought 
a meaning that might correspond to the manifest air of import- 
ance pervading the communication, and thus have suspected 
meanings that would impress the Gentile mind with religious 
awe. It is from this source that traditional interpretations have 
come to us, and, as Gentiles still further removed in sympathy 
from the original readers of this epistle, we are exposed to the 
same misconception. 

But a citizen of the United States may represent to himself 
the situation of those whom the Apostle addressed. Let him be 
one who believes that these United States were by the Federal 
Constitution bound up in a perpetual union ; that the destinies 
of the country and all the proper aims of citizenship and bless- 

vii. 25.] A SIMILAR CASE FOR US. 259 

ings of civil life must be realized in that union ; let him be a 
citizen that, on principle and with the utmost devotion of patriot- 
ism, made sacrifices and was fighting as a soldier, or commanding 
as an officer in the war to establish the Union against the formid- 
able rebellion of disunion. Let such a one hear, from one having 
Apostolic authority, an argmnent that would successively take up 
the following positions and convincingly establish them as by the 
express declaration of the original framers of the Federal Con- 
stitution ; viz., that that constitution M^as not intended to be per- 
petual ; that a future emergence of distinct and separate confed- 
eracies was provided for ; that such a rearrangement of civil life 
was the aim of the confederate leaders ; and that the proper des- 
tinies of the populations of this continent and the best happiness 
of civil existence were to be attained in that way. Let such 
unfamiliar things appear to such a citizen, uttered by authority 
to which he must listen, and with convincing reasons to which he 
could only oppose his prejudices and likings and habits of thought, 
while he must admit their validity ; and he must listen with fear 
and trembling. On the other hand, his instructor, if endowed 
with Apostolic wisdom, would communicate the unfamiliar things 
with a moderation of manner that would leave them to make their 
impression by their naked simplicity. To complete the repre- 
sentation, let us suppose this discourse to be read by some citizen 
of one of the many nationalities of Europe, with no sympathy 
for the cause of Union here, and unable to think of a better social 
state than that presented by the political map of the continent of 
Europe. In the latter we would have one in much the situation 
we are in ourselves when reading this epistle. He might feel the 
sentiment of vital importance that breathed in the discourse. 
Its author might be one whose words he believed must be 
weighed with attention. But he would miss the real, thrilling 
interest of the communications. He might, likely, be misled to 
find meanings that, to him, would seem to correspond to the air 
of importance that marked the discourse, yet, would actually be 
quite foreign to what was the meaning of the Author and was the 
burning and focal interest to the readers he addressed. 

Yet Christians now ought not to be strangers to the deep inter- 

260 THE HIGH PRIEST WE NEED. [vii. 26 

ests involved in this discourse concerning Jesus Melchizedek. We 
have an interest and inheritance in the Old Testament as a reve- 
lation, and in the Old Dispensation as part of the redemptive 
history. And the truth concerning the priesthood of Christ, as 
represented here, is not only truth for Jews. It is not only all 
Jews that Jesus the Melchizedek Priest is able to save to the 
uttermost who approach unto God by Him. It is all men. It 
was because God would establish a priesthood and raise up a 
priest to expiate sin for all men, that, as said in the Ps. ex., 
" the Lord hath sworn and will not repent ; Thou art a priest 
forever, after the order of Melchizedek." It was because His pur- 
pose was as expressed in Psalm ii. : to give Christ a universal 
dominion. Roman citizenship was no less valuable to Paul than 
to the Centurion, because he was born such, aud had not to buy 
it as the latter. And this Melchizedek Priest and his command- 
ment are no less precious to a Gentile than to a Jew, though he 
does not, as the latter, take him in exchange for a priesthood and 
commandment that have been abrogated. 

Ver. 26. For such an high priest also 'became us, holy, guile- 
less, undefiled, removed from sinners, and become higher than the 

These words are taken by von Hofmann as constituting, with 
ver. 25, one sentence, in which : For such an high priest became 
us makes a parenthesis. According to this, the five predicates 
that follow continue the list that begins with : " ever liveth to 
make intercession for us." But the common view, that we have 
here a new sentence, is justified by the importance of the affirma- 
tion of the first clause : For such an high priest also became us. 
For it is important to note that the Apostle now resumes the title 
high priest, last applied to Jesus vi. 20. Having there called 
Him : " high priest after the order of Melchizedek," the Apostle 
has paused to represent the truth revealed concerning Christ, when, 
in Ps. ex. 4, He is called a priest after the order of Melchizedek. 
Having sufficiently done that (vii. 1-25), he resumes the title 
high priest, combining with it all the truth now ascertained as 
involved in the title Melchizedek, and affirms : Such an high 

» Read mi with [L] ; Tisch. viii. ; Tr.; [W. & H.] ; Lun., Alf., Del. 


priest became US. Thus T«fwDT09= such refers to all the preced- 
ing context of our chapter, aud comprehensively applies it to the 
previous title high priest, with all that has been expounded (v. 
1-10; vi. 19, 20) of the import of the latter title. We take 
TotouTo? as having this comprehensive reference in view of what 
has been remarked on the emphasis of the thought : " ever 
livetli " (ver. 25). The For of our verse connects directly with 
that statement, and such resumes particularly the notion : " ever 
livetli to make intercession." But that notion by its pre-emi- 
nence, and as the seal to all the other traits of Christ's Melchizedek 
priesthood, brings in all the rest, while it remains as the special 
subject for contemplation. 

It is important to notice the precision with which the Apostle, 
in this context, uses the terra priest and high priest. It is just, 
also, to acknowledge our indebtedness to von Hofmann. We 
may do this in the words of Delitzsch :* " Only Hofmann has 
discerned the set design with which the Author uses priest 
alone up to this point, and then proceeds : such an high priest, 
and shows how important this observation is for the understand- 
ing of the context." The failure on the part of many commen- 
tators to note this,^ aud their use of " priest " and " high priest " 
interchangeably with reference to what is taught (vii. 1-25) con- 
cerning Christ's Melchizedek priesthood, much confuses the 
sense. It is impossible to follow the discourse of the Apostle 
without confusion, unless we hold these two notions distinct, viz., 
Christ, a High Priest the antitype of the Aaronic high priest- 
hood, and Christ a priest after the order of Melchizedek. And 
when the notions are combined in the title : " a high priest after 
the order of IMelchizedek," they must be combined in their dis- 

Such an high priest is the notion now presented, with special 
stress on the Melchizedek attributes that have been expounded, 
particularly that he remains a priest forever. Of this the Apostle 
affirms : He also became us. The xai = also, is emphatic. It 

1 On ver. 25. 

^ Comp. e. g. Calvin's pontiff x and sacerdotes, vers. 26-28 r Davidson, pp. 
129, 143, 147, who does so deliberately. 

262 REMOVED FROM SINNERS. [vii. 26. 

suggests what has already been represented of Christ as the anti- 
type of the Aaron ic high priestliood, and of His fitness for us/ 
and declares that the Melchizedek attributes are also needed for 
our case. He became us, it is said. "E-ps-sv^ used ii. 10 to 
designate that which was meet or fitting for God to do on our 
behalf, is here repeated to designate what was meet or fitting for 
us to have in Him who should carry out the divine pleasure.'* 
In the former case the reason is found in God. In the present 
it is found in ourselves. With particular reference to : " ever 
liveth to make intercession/' it is our need as sinners that have 
sinned, do sin and will sin, and have a sinful posterity like our- 

As we have found the reference of such to be backward to 
what has been represented of the Melchizedek order, we cannot * 
take the five following predicates as in apposition with it ; nor as 
a further unfolding of rofoDro?,^ which would be giving it a 
double reference backwards and forwards. These five predicates 
are to be taken in apposition with high priest. They " are 
selected characteristics " ® descriptive of Jesus as antitype of the 
Aaronic high priesthood, to which all that the Melchizedek title 
imports has now been superadded (xai^ These predicates are not 
involved in the Melchizedek type. They are in the Aaronic, 
and are introduced as recapitulation of representations already 
made. As the antitype of the Aaronic high priest, i. e., it must 
be noted, after the high priest had offered for his own sins, Jesus 
is offfo? = "(sanetus), godly-minded," saintly ; axaxo^ = guileless, 
having no bad quality about Him ; diuavzo<i = undefiled, free from 
contamination that might attach to Him from an outward source ; 
x£;(u)piff/iivo^ X. T. ?.. — " having been removed from sinners," which 
is further defined by : and become higher than the heavens. The 
first three of these predicates are obvious correspondences to the 
Aaronic high priests, only that the reality is affirmed of Christ, 
whereas in the others these things were only acquired ceremonially 
and symbolically. In the last two predicates the correspondence 
appears from a comparison of vi. 20, where Christ was last named 

' iv. 14 ; X. 10. ^ Del. ^ Comp. Kom. viii. 34; 1 John ii. 1. 

* As e.g. de Wette. * As Liin. * Del. 


High Priest, and said to have entered within the vaih That answers 
to the Aaronic high priest's entering into the Holiest. With 
that, Christ's removal from sinners took place. The greatness 
of that removal is indicated by here describing : " within the 
vail " to be : higher than the heavens. But this is not said to 
mark the greatness of Christ as distinguished from sinners. It 
is to intimate the greatness of the intercession. The high priest 
entered the Holiest to intercede for the people ; and Christ is 
removed from sinners within the vail, to the highest heavens to 
do the same. As the Apostle has shown how in His Melchize- 
dek attributes Christ ever lives to intercede, so now he shows 
where that intercession takes place, according to his Aaronic 
attributes. All which is most comforting to those who know 
that they have such an high priest. 

The common habit of quoting the language before us in a per- 
verted sense makes it important to call attention to its true mean- 
ing. Separate from sinners does not, in this context, mean free 
from being a party to sin wath sinners ; nor free from complicity 
with them ; nor removed from their influence.^ This would only 
express what the first three predicates have already adequately 
expressed. Nor does it mean that, above the heavens Christ is 
removed from the reach of the malice of sinners.^ " It must be 
the sinfulness of sinners, and not their enmity against Him, that 
points the significance of His separation from them, and makes 
this worth mention here. This separation supplements His own 
sinlessness, not as if otherwise His holiness would be endangered, 
but so far as His active holiness is withdrawn from that relation 
to sin that formerly obtained in His case ; He can now attend 
wholly to representing His own before God." ' 

This just interpretation, so evident when stated, must be a wel- 
come correction to those who have understood " separated from 
sinners" in the erroneous ways noted above. It shows that 
believers themselves are the sinners from whom our High Priest 
is removed, and that the removal is for their benefit.* 

The Apostle procedes to mention a particular qualification in 

^ Against Calvin. * Against Del. 

^ von Ilof. * Coiup. John xiv. 28; xvi. 7. 


our High Priest as now presented, that marks the inferiority of 
the high priests of the law. And note, that it is now of high 
priest and not priests that vers. 27, 28 speak. The Apostle now 
applies particulai'ly to them inferences of the same nature as those 
he has above (vers. 18-25), applied to priests. It is this marks the 
progress of thought, without which we seem to have reiteration 
only, or we are misled to seek meanings that are not in the text. 

Ver. 27. Who hath not daily need, as the high priest, to offer 
up sacrifices, first for his own sins, then for those of the people ; for 
this he did once for all when he offered up himself. 

We may first dispose of a difficulty that appears in this verse. 
It seems to imply that the high priests day by day offered up 
sacrifices, first for their own sins, then for the people. The offer- 
ing so described is evidently that which took place only once a 
year, on the great day of atonement. Without enumerating the 
various expedients proposed to ob\'iate this difficulty,^ we may 
give ^ what seems the best construction. A comparison with v. 
1 ; ix. 17, 26 ; x. 1, 11, shows that the Author, by the offerings 
here described, can mean nothing else than what occurred only 
once a year. In x. 1, compared with x. 11, he shows that he 
clearly distinguishes between what high priests did once a year 
and what they did daily in sacrificing. He cannot, therefore, 
refer to the latter by the present expression, nor to both com- 
bined. Taking the present expression, then, to refer to the 
ritual for one yearly occasion, the facts of the case debar us from 
supposing he means that the high priests did that daily. We 
notice, then, that he does not write : o? obx e-^ei avdyxrjv Sxnzep ol 

dp^cepsl^ xa'Y r^fiipav; but : o? ovx e/st xa^y ijfiipa'j avdyx-qv wffizzp ol 

dp'/cspsi'?. Thus he does not say that the high priests offered 
every day ; but of Jesus he says that He has not daily need so 
to offer sacrifices as the legal high priests. Moreover, it is not 
the Author's purpose here to affirm that Jesus is superior to the 
legal high priests in that He had not to do what they did. Were 
that the purpose, it would be enough to say so, and not be neces- 
sary to add that He did once for all what they did daily. It is, 

' See, then, in Del., Liin., Alford. 
^ After von Hof. 


therefore, iucorrrect to translate : " those ('»?) high priests," ^ as 
is done witli the notion that such contrast is intended. The pur- 
pose is to affirm, that Jesus needed not daily to offer up sacrifices, 
as might be thought He must if He is ever, i. c, daily, making 
intercession for His own.^ As expressing the kind of sacrifice 
that His intercession required, that of the high priest on the great 
day of atonement is described. It tvas needed ; and Jesus offered' 
it.^ But He did it once for all, as his continued, uuiutermitted 
intercession shows. 

What is affirmed in this verse is not Avith a view to showing 
how it is possible for Christ to be continually interceding. It 
does not do so, e. g., by pointing to the fact that the high priests 
as sinful men needed, as often as they interceded, to make sacri- 
fice, whereas Christ as sinless could make sacrifice once for all.* 
What is affirmed is an inference from («) the fact that He is a 
perpetual intercessor, which fact has been already proved from 
His Melchizedek character, according to which He is priest forever 
and ever lives ; and {b) from the fact that He has entered within 
the vail, and there is and will continue to be. For He entered 
to stay there till the intercession shall no more be needed. The 
legal high priests needed only to sacrifice once for the yearly 
occasion of their entering the Holiest to intercede. But they 
could not stay there ; and for the renewal of intercession renewed 
sacrifice was needed. All is different in the case of Christ, who 
" entered once for all into the holy place." ^ Thus the present 
language is no appeal to the intrinsic worth of Christ's sacrifice, 
viz., a sacrifice of Himself, and he the Son, and of one without 
sin, as something that was sufficient once for all,® however true 
such considerations are. Nor is it a dogmatic statement of this 
truth. The truth that He made a saerijtee once for all is an obvi- 
ous inference from the fact that lie ever lives to make intercession, 
having made His sacrifice. 

In describing the sacrifice needful for intercession, " the Apostle 
uses the expression wmyiper^, not Tzpoafiptiv ; and on purpose. 

1 Vers. Ifill, 1881. " Comp. ix. 2o, 26. ' v. 1-9. 

* So de Wette, Liin. * ix. 12. ® Against <■. (j. Chrys., Lindsay. 

266 avaifipzvj, -poacpipuv. Fvii. 28. 

The complement of Tzpodtpipsiv is rcD »9£w; ^ of a.\>afipzv^ it is ^;ri TO 

f^oaiaaTT^purj} Thus the expression itself [avaipipztv) precludes our 
understanding that the presentation of the blood of expiation in 
the Holiest of all is meant here. In avuifipsiv the oifering is 
conceived of as a handing over, in that one gives his own away 
where it becomes God's own. In -poa^pipziv, on the other hand, 
it is thought of as a handing in, in that one gives that God may 
receive. In the present case the former is used because the 
Author would designate the offering of Jesus as a self-surrender 
to that which happens with the oifering. In this His self-sacri- 
fice He did once for all what the legal high priests do when they 
first offer up sacrifice for their own sins, then for the sins of the 
people, and thus has not daily need to do it."^ 

That Christ did what corresponded to the legal high priests' 
performance in offering first for their own and then for the sins 
of the people, the Apostle has represented v. 1-9 ; and there as 
here it is meant that He did so in the way that was possible for 
one who was "without sin." The same objections are urged 
against this view^ here that are urged at v. 1-7. But the expla- 
nations given there obviate their consideration here. 

When he offered up ^ himself : " This is the first place in which 
the thought, that Christ is not only our high priest, but also the 
sacrifice for our sins, is quite clearly expressed. But the note, 
once struck, is continually sounded again. " ® 

The contrast presented between Christ and the legal high 
priests, to the disadvantage of the latter, is now sharpened by a 
statement which, as the For shows, explains it. 

Ver. 28. For the law appointeth men high priests having in- 
firmity ; but the word of the oath, which was subsequent to the 
law, a Son perfected forever. 

If both clauses of this verse were to be taken '' as referring to 
Christ, the first referring to what He is as antitype of the Aaronic 

^ Comp. e. g.^ Num. xxxi. 50 ; Heb. xi. 4 ; Acts vii. 42. 

^ Comp. e. g., Gen. viii. 20; Lev. iv. 10; James ii. 21 (1 Pet. ii. 24). 

3 von Hof. * See Del. 

* We read hvtvkyKaq with the Rec. ; W. and H. ; Liin ; v. Hof. ; Del. ; against 
TzpoaEveynag Tisch. viii. 

* Del. 7 with Ebrard. 


high priesthood, and the second to what He is as Melcliizedek 
priest, we must expect to read " a man," ' and not men. It is 
evident that a plurality of high priests is contrasted with the one 
Son, and their infirmity with His being perfect forever more ; and 
the law by which they were instituted, with the oath that made 
the Son a priest. 

The recurrence of the words "high priests," "appointed," 
" infirmity," " a Son," " perfect forever," as we find these in v. 
1-10, shows that the Author deals with the same notions as 
there, and the words must have the same meaning. Infirmity 
is that which makes mere men liable and sure to sin, and also to 
death which ends their functions.^ " The law which perfected 
nothing," ^ did not make the men free from this infirmity whom 
it appointed high priests. And the offering for their own sins 
according to law, left them still having infirmity. Hence the 
inferiority of the high priests expressed in ver. 27. But the word 
of the oath which was subsequent to the law, appointed a high 
priest of a superior kind, viz., a Son perfected forever more. 
The oath, and that it was subsequent to the law, which denotes 
that it established something that superseded whatever the law 
enacted to meet the same case ; especially the express substance 
of the oath : " thou art a priest forever ; " and then, that we see 
this verified in a Son, which brings in all that has been said of 
a Son* who was perfected forever for his high-priestly functions ; 
all this shows how in His very institution Christ is the " High 
Priest that became us,"^ and that the legal high priests were not 

Let it be reiterated, that the point of what is said vers. 27, 28, 
is, that the contrast is now pressed between Christ as High Priest 
and the legal high priests, as previous to ver. 26, Clirist's priest- 
hood after the order of Melchizedek was contrasted with the le^al 
priesthood. The progress of thought is, that what is true of the 
legal priesthood, involves also the legal liigh-priesthood and its 
efficacy. The common failure of expositors to mark the distinct 
purpose with which the Apostle speaks of priests and then of 

' Conip. V. 1 . 2 Comp. ii. 15 ; v. 2 ; vii. 23. ' ver. 19. 

*i. 1-14. ii. 14; iii. 6; v. 8, 9. ^ver. 26. 

268 xetpdXiov 8i. [viii. 1, 2. 

high priests has led to great confusion here. It has led, as the 
division of chapters shows, to the supposition that our verses 
26-28 are a conclusion of the foregoing representations that set 
forth the superiority of Christ's priesthood to the Levitical.^ On 
the contrary, we have a fresh stadium of the Apostle's discourse. 
Recurring again to Christ's high-priesthood, which previous to 
vi. 20, he has illustrated in its likeness to the Aaronic high-priest- 
hood, he now distinguishes it from the latter in respect to its 
unlikeness, i. e., its superiority. This he does on the ground of 
the superiority of the Melchizedek priesthood as an order to the 
legal order of priesthood. As a topic so resumed, we are pre- 
pared to expect that the Author will not dismiss it with a brief 
word such as our vers. 26-28. And, accordingly, we find he 
does not, but proceeds to amplify the contrast between Christ as 
High Priest and the legal high priests, to the effect that the latter 
are wholly unable to meet the w^ants of sinners, while in additional 
details, he shows how Christ is the High Priest that became us. 

VIII. 1. But a chief thing, besides those so-called [high priests] 
we have such an high priest, who sat at the right hand of the throne 
of the majesty, in the heavens 2. a minister of the Holies, and of 
the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. 

It is to von Hofmann that we are indebted for observing the 
progress of thought in the context, and for the above translation 
of ver. 1, that it demands, and which has been treated too super- 
cilliously.^ The construction is blamed with violently sundering 
xs<pdhov di from ^tti ring ktyoijA-^oig. But it is evident that expositors 
who undertake to explain how they are to be combined, fail to 
do so satisfactorily. If they take the reference of -/.sfdX. to the 
preceding context in the sense of " in brief," or " the chief thing," 
it would require to read : rb dk xtfdXmv r&v dprjiiirj'^wv. Nor can 
im To'ig hyofj.ivoig be rendered : " in addition to what has been said." 
The difficulty is not in the iTzc, but in the present participle. In 
order to do justice to the present participle, some render : " in 
what we are saying," or " say," or " concerning which we discourse,^ 

* so e. g. Liin., who makes it the fourth mark of superiority. 

* e. g., by Liin., Del., Alford. 

3 Liin.; deWette; Del.; Alford; Davidson; Vers. 1881. 

viii. 1, 2.] WE HAVE SUCH AN HIGH PRIEST. 269 

without adducing elsewhere a corresponding example of such a 
combination of /.stfakwj di, or even showing the possibility of 
this adjunct, which as to substance, is superfluous, and as a matter 
of language, is obscure." ^ 

We take xs^dXiav - a chief thing, with most expositors, and sup- 
pose the Author means, that in the high-priesthood of Christ, as 
here described, especially (ver. 2), that he is such an High Priest 
in the heavens, is seen the chiefest consequence of the contrast 
already established in general in regard to the orders of priesthood. 
We reject the rendering " the sum," or " in brief," because noth- 
ing that follows can properly be understood to represent the sum 
of anything that has been or is said. Thus xscpdA. Si is to be 
taken by itself, and ^n). r. Xtyoij.. connects with what follows ; iru 
having the meaning of beside,' or, it may be, of " along with," 
as ix. 10, 17,^ which comes to the same thing here. To nn^ 
Xsyoii. =the so-called,* supply dpyispsuaiv='' high priests ; " which 
is natural, not only from the antithesis of a high priest presented 
in this verse, but also from that already presented in vii. 28. 
Were the dpiitptbav^ expressed,^ no one would challenge the pro- 
priety of the sentence or differ as to its meaning. To one that 
follows closely the logical connection with vii. 27, 28, its omis- 
sion has no awkwardness. With this construction, what is said 
in ver. 1, is plain and needs no elucidation. Only we may ven- 
ture to agree with those® who suppose that iy.aHi<7t\> — %2X down, 
expresses more than the mere fact of presence in heaven. As at 
i. 3, the same expression points a superiority to angels, so here 
it points a superiority to the earthly high priests. Yet, not that 
it expresses greater dignity as the privilege of Christ. It points 
a difference that makes Him a better high priest for us. It pre- 
sents, under another expression, the Melchizedek characteristic 
of which so much has just been made, viz., Christ is a perpetual 
priest. iJe haa entered heaven to stay. He is there always to do 
what He entered there to be and to do. 

It may be remarked that so construed, ver. 1, even more than 

' von Hof. ^ Comp. Grimm., Lex., sitb. voc. n. d, 

'So von Hof. * Xen., Anab., I. ii. 13. 

* Comp., 1 Cor. viii. 5, 6. * Alford, Davidson, etc. 

270 HE ENTEEED HEAVEN TO STAY. [vlii. 1, 2. 

ver. 4, (ovTwi/ ribv ■!:po<sf£p6vnu)^') ^ aifords evidence that our epistle 
was written while the temple service was still maintained. 

The Apostle, of course, does not mean that ice have and are to 
have the high priests so called, and a high priest in the heavens. 
We have (i. e., the readers had) both, but we see in the latter 
what must lead to the surrender of all trust in the efficacy of the 
former, because of what we see him to be, which for the present 
is denoted by where we see Him, viz., in the heavens, which has 
the emphasis.^ He is a minister of the Holies and of the true 
tabernacle which the Lord pitched not man. In saying this, the 
Apostle interprets the meaning of the fact that Christ has " sat 
down at the right hand of the throne," i. e., is in heaven. The 
same thing has already, vi. 19, been interpreted as an "entering 
within the vail, a forerunner for us." It completes the idea of 
Christ, a High Priest, ever living to intercede for His own. It 
represents Him as doing what a high priest in active discharge 
of his functions does ; he ministers. He does this in the place 
and about the place where such ministry is discharged, viz., 
the Holies. But in His case it is in the heavens, where He has 
the functions and place that the legal high priests have on earth. 
As such the Apostle calls it the true tabernacle, not in distinction 
from a false, but from a tabernacle that was only the representa- 
tion of the true.^ 

By von Hofmann, iv ml? oupw^nig is rendered as connected with 
ribv dyiiuv Xz^irtwpyo'i, because it is not ivhere our high priest is, 
that is emphasized, but where He is our high priest , that is where 
He does high-priestly service. Thus in the heavens has an 
emphasis. In defense of the constnuction he says : 

" It is objected that, iv r. odpav. makes no proper beginning of 
a sentence, which is something I do not understand ; or that the 
rythmical balance of vers. 1 and 2 would thereby be marred, 
whereas just the contrary is true ; or that it must then read : twv 
dyiujv -wv iv T. <ivpa<^., whereby the expressive emphasis of the h 
T. ovpav. would disappear ; or that it is understood as a matter of 
course that the sanctuary where Christ ministers is the heavenly 
one, if He has sat down at the right hand of God, whereas even 
' Comp. Liin. ■' von Hof. ^ Liin., von Hof. 

Viii. 1, 2.] IN THE HEAVENS A MINISTER. 271 

r/;? axr^vr;? is not without its clause of cxacter definition/ which 
sorae^ then would have supplied to rwi/ dyiwy. As t>;9 (rxr^'^r^'s has 
its exacter definition [t/)? «/jj .'>£>;; v] on which rests the empliasis, 
so, also, must twv ayiuiv have something that is emphasized mark- 
ing antithesis. The legal high priest is minister of the Holies, 
but on earth ; and a minister of the Tabernacle is he also, but 
not of the true tabernacle," This exposition justifies us in 
accepting the construction in question.^ But, while assenting to 
that, wo may refuse to follow the opinion,^ that the Apostle sig- 
nifies different things by the Holies in the heavens and the true 
tabernacle. They are synonomous,^ in the sense that they desig- 
nate the locality where our high priest ministers. The two are 
one as Pharoah's two dreams were one. They empliasize the 
contrast between the earthly locality where the legal high priest 
ministers, and the heavenly where our High Priest ministers. The 
view, that by the true tabernacle is meant the glorified body of 
Christ,*' is in conflict with the parallel pointed above, that the 
legal high priest is minister of a tabernacle, but not the true 
tabernacle. The tent where Christ ministers must be as objec- 
tive to him as the tent where the legal high priest ministers is to 
the latter. The notion that the Apostle means different, though 
closely related things by the Holies and the tent, rests upon the 
assumption that by llyia = Holies, he means " Holy of holies." 
But at ix. 2, he expressly defines the Holies to be the anterior 
tent. At that place we shall find, that he uses the same word in 
that context with only that meaning ; and that nothing there 
justifies the notion that a Holy of holies, as distinguished from 
a Holies, has any existence in the arrangements of the heavenly 

If We have properly understood the scope of vers. 1, 2, viz., 
that it is to point with emphasis to the heavens as the place where 
Christ is High Priest and so ministers, then the vers. 3, 4, are 
meant to show why the sphere of His high-priestly ministry mi(st 
be heaven.^ This explains the logical connection expressed by 

' Against Liin., and Del. ^ e. g., Eleek, Ebrard, Liin., etc. 

' Against Alford. * Of von Hof., Del., Owen, Alford. 

" fcso Liin. ® Owen, vun Iluf., Alford. ' C'omp. Del. 

272 HE MUST HAVE AN OFFERING. [viii. 3. 

For. The argument, like that of v. 1-5, is an inference from what 
is true of every high priest to what must therefore be true of 
Christ. The premise for the inference is : 

Ver. 3. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts 
and sacrifices ; whence it [is] necessary also for this one to have 
something which he offers. 

The identity of the language of the first clause of our verse 
with V. 1, sounds like reiteration for the purpose of resuming the 
representation concerning Christ as High Priest where it was 
broken oif at v. 10. That representation only amplifies the 
part of Christ's ministry that corresponds to what every high 
priest did when he offered for himself in view of his own infirmi- 
ties, before offering for the people's sins. What Christ did to 
correspond to the latter offering was mentioned in a summary 
way without interpretation: "and having been perfected he 
became the author of everlasting salvation to those that obey 
Him, having been saluted by God a high priest after the order 
of Melchizedek " (v. 9, 10). 

In resuming his topic vi. 20, after the digression v. 11 — vi. 19, 
the Apostle elaborated the truth implied in Christ's being saluted 
high priest after the order of Melchizedeh. This he has just con- 
cluded vii. 28, by the declaration : " The law appointed men 
priests having infirmity, but the word of the oath that was sub- 
sequent to the law, a Son perfected forever." We observe that 
this expression comes round again to that of v. 9, 10. This is 
true not only of " perfected " and " Melchizedek," but also of 
the " infirmity " of the earthly high priests which, at v. 7, 8, was 
interpreted as it found correspondence in Christ. It is our per- 
fected High Priest, viz., our High Priest in his Melchizedek 
character, that is presented as the topic in vers. 1,2. As the 
passages just quoted show, it is our High Priest with infirmities 
laid aside, and now perfected forever. It is now in place to 
interpret what He does that corresponds to the earthly high 
priests' ministry when offering gifts and sacrifices for the sins of 
others after having first offered for themselves. And this is 
what, from the present on to x. 18, the Apostle actually does. 
Noticing these things, we may assume that the first clause of our 


ver. 3 is actually intended for what \vc have said it sounds like. 
It is reiteration in brief of v. 1, for the purpose of resuming 
the representation of the correspondence in our high priest to 
what is true of every high priest, and interpreting that which 
was left uninterpreted. It is needless to say that the progress 
of thought just noted serves to corroborate the interpretation of 
V. 7, 8, given above. 

Appealing, then, to what is true of every high priest, viz., 
that he is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, the inference 
is established that Christ must have the same functions. The 
meaning now is, offering gifts and sacrifices for the sins of the 
people and as ministering for them. In regard to gifts and sac- 
rifices, we may refer to what was said in explanation under v. 1. 
In regard to r.poatfijizv^, we see from the context that it refers to 
something Christ does in heaven, and, thus, that the Tzpoatp. of 
the earthly high priests must correspondingly be what they do in 
the earthly Holies. We observe, then, a propriety in the use 
of Ttpn(T(fip£iv here, instead of avafipeiv as used vii. 27, consistent 
with the diiferent significations of the words that were explained 
there. The offering here does not mean offering up sacrifice, but 
what was done when sacrifice had been offered. And the double 
expression offer gifts and sacrifices requires us to think of some- 
thing more, if not something else than presentation of the sacri- 
fice to God. As a matter of fact and observation, we notice in 
the progress of the epistle, that neither in what he says of Christ, 
nor by what he says of the earthly high priests, does the Apostle 
actually express or imply that Christ offers His sacrifice to God 
in heaven, or offers His blood there. He enters heaven by His 
own blood, as the high priest enters the Holies by other blood 
not His own.^ He offers Himself for us in the presence of God 
in the Holies not made with hands, as the earthly high priest 
offers himself for the people in the earthly Holies.^ As the 
copies of the heavenly things were cleansed by the sprinkling 
of the blood, so (the Apostle lets us infer his meaning) the heav- 
enly things themselves are cleansed by the sprinkling of His 
blood.' Such are the expressions that help us to give precision 

»ix. 12. *ix. 24. Mx. 23. 



to the Apostle's meaning when he speaks of our High Priest need- 
ing to have something to offer. What is clear here is, that it is 
affirmed, that an offering is essential to our High Priest, as to 
every high priest. It is equally clear that the present expression 
does not mean that Christ offers up a sacrifice in heaven, and the 
present text is of no use in itself for the Romish doctrine of the 
" unbloody sacrifice." Nor does our expression intimate that 
Christ makes continual sacrifice in heaven. What is clearly 
affirmed is sufficient for the Apostle's argument, which is meant 
to corroborate the representation of vers. 1, 2, that Christ is our 
High Priest in heaven. It is the first premise to show that He 
miist minister there. He must have something to offer, that is 
first premise. The second is, He cannot do this on earth. 
That it must be in heaven follows as the consequence. The 
second premise is presented in the form of showing why He 
cannot so minister on earth. 

Ver. 4. If then lie were on earth he would not even be priest, 
there being those who offer gifts according to law. 

There is no such emphasis here as though it were said : he 
would not be even a priest, let alone high priest.* But priest is 
the genus, and denying that excludes all priestly character what- 
ever. The Apostle recognizes that the legal priests w^ere the 
ones to do priestly ministry on earth, and no others. As they 
did this according to law, it would be against law for another to 
minister in a priestly way on earth. This excluded Christ from 
doing so, and thus, were He on earth, He were no interceding 
priest. Hence, when prepared (perfected) by the necessary sac- 
rifice, He entered heaven, there to minister. 

It is profitable to remark, that if this reasoning is true for 
Christ, it is equally so for any other. This text, therefore, 
excludes the notion of the Christian ministry being a priesthood 
for God's people. The disciple is not greater than his Lord. 

To be a priest, and thus a high priest, actually ministering as 
Intercessor, Christ must be away from earth, i. e., in the heavens, 
as represented vers. 1, 2. 

To the statement of the exclusive right of the legal priests to 

^ Against Liin., Del. ; with Davidson. 


minister on earth, the Apostle adds a representation description 
of their ministry. 

Ver. 5 a. Who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly 
things, even as Moses is warned when about to make the taber- 

Aurpeuiiv means serving,^ or being the servants of the objects 
expressed in the datives. 

This is said to enhance the notion of the exclusive right and 
dignity of their service,^ and not to mark its inferiority to the 
ministry of Christ in the true tabernacle.^ Not in contrast with 
the sanctuary where Christ ministers, but in contrast with every 
other earthly sanctuary, the Apostle affirms that what the legal 
priests serve is the copy and shadow of the heavenly things.* 
Therefore nowhere on earth but where that copy is can there be a 
priestly ministry, and no other on earth but the legal priest can do 
priestly work. Thus the reason introduced by for ver. 3 is com- 

That the legal sanctuary was such a copy of the heavenly things 
the Apostle proves by a reference to Exod. xxv. 40, introduced 
by : For, saith He, meaning God so said to Moses. 

Ver. 5 h. For see, saith he, thou shalt make all things according 
to the pattern that was shewed thee in the mount. 

Here it is probable that the opa = see is not meant in the sense 
of " see to it ; " but, like the original Hebrew {r\p^\ nxni), it 
means : see and make (jTonjffst?) as was shewed there.* What 
Moses saw was itself a type of the things in heaven. What he 
made was a shadow of a shadow.® 

Having set before the reader the chief thing resulting from 
Christ's being high priest after the order of Melchizodok, viz., 
that beside the so-called high priests we have " such " an high 
priest in the heavens and ministering there ; and having shown 
that He could not be a priest on earth consistently witli ordi- 
nances that were of God's appointment, the Apostle proceeds to 
affirm that the ministry he has is {pta<fnpwripa<iy more excellent 
than, as well a.s diffi^rent from that which the priests discharged 

' Comp. xiii. 10. ^ von Ilof. ^ Against Liin., Del. * So von Hof. 
*> So von Hof. Comp. Biittm. Gram. p. 242. ® Alford. ^ Comp. i. 4. 

276 HIS A BETTER MINISTRY. [viii 6. 

on earth. The 3i of ver. 6 answers to the /liv of ver. 4. The 
now is logical, not temporal, and introduces a statement. " It 
means as things in fact are." ^ 

Ver. 6. But now hatli he obtained a more distinguished minis- 
try by as much as he is also mediator of a better covenant, which 
hath been enacted upon better promises. 

To the thing affirmed is conjoined a reference to fact in proof. 
The present reasoning appears to some a mere vice versa of vii. 
20-22, if not a case of actually reasoning in a circle, viz., that 
as in vii. 20-22 the Author proves the superiority of the cove- 
nant from the greater rank of the priest, so here he infers the 
superior rank of His priestly ministry from the greater excel- 
lence of the covenant of which He is the Mediator.^ But we 
found, at vii. 20-22, that the thing proved was, that the cove- 
nant was better than the law because of the perpetuity guar- 
anteed to it by the priest, in that he is a priest forever. What is 
proved here is that our high priest has a more distinguished or 
excellent ministry because of the betterness of the covenant of 
which he is Mediator. To prove the betterness of the covenant 
as perpetual from the forever-priesthood of the surety, and to 
prove the betterness of the priestly ministry from the contents 
of the covenant that determines that ministry, is not reasoning in 
a circle^ nor is it a case of mere vice versa. The enduring great- 
ness of Great Britain makes a protectorate by her better than 
one assumed by France. Whatever it is, it is sure to last. On 
the other hand, the terms of the compact, by which Great Brit- 
ain exercises her protectorate, may make Great Britain's admin- 
istration of the protectorate the beneficent thing. The latter 
illustrates the Apostle's meaning here, where Christ's high-priestly 
ministry is compared with the high priests so-called. Beside the 
place, viz., the heavens, where He ministers, which has been men- 
tioned, the Apostle appeals to the intent and effect of that min- 
istry. It is expressed in a covenant, and Christ is the Mediator 
of that covenant, which means not only that He gives it effect, but 
also that to give it effect is the special function of His ministry. And 
that He is the Mediator of the covenant in question marks a 

^ Davidson. ^ So Liin. 


point of His superiority to the legal high priests, who M^ere not 
the mediators of the legal covenant, but only the ministers under 
it.^ The special quality of betterness in the covenant referred to 
is mentioned. It is enacted on better promises. The comparison 
is with the covenant given through Moses.^ 

The terms used here show that it is no covenant in the sense 
of an agreement between parties. It proceeds only from one, 
viz., God, and is determined by Him. It determines the rela- 
tions that are to be between Him who gives it and those who 
have the benefit of it. Hence the propriety of the expression 
vv^oiwHirr^Tat = is enacted, though the cov^enant conveys promises. 
Promises, in the plural refers to the particulars of the promise 
cited from Jer. xxxi. 31-34, as found below, vers. 10-12. 

Having said that the covenant that determines Christ's high- 
priestly ministry is better than the one under which the legal 
high priests ministered, the Apostle justifies the assertion. 

Ver. 7. For if that first was faultless, then would not place have 
been sought for a second. 

This is not intended to show wherein the second is better^ 
nor is the following passage from Jeremiah adduced to show 
this, though it contains what does show it : " The Apostle only 
justifies his having said that it is better. For he only says, if there 
had been nothing to object to the former, then there would not have 
been sought place for a second. And this expression does not un- 
consciously blend two different statements : <>dx ilv deuripa? iZyjTsno, 
and S^u-^pa? oijx r/v aV roTzog ;* but it is intentionally so constructed 
in order to say that, after the first assumed its place, where, as 
instituted by God, it stood by right, a second could not other- 
wise find room, unless there were another place not occupied by 
the first, where it might come to stand, which was only possible 
if it would accomplish something that the other did not. But that 
in the Scriptures room is actually sought for a second, the Apostle 
proves by citing Jer. xxxi. 31-34. He introduces the citation by : 

^ Comp. Del * See Exod. vi. 1—8 ; and comp. our ver. 9. 

' Against Liin., Alford, 

* " A second would not have been sought," and " there was no place for a 
second ; " against Ebrard ; Liin. 

278 THE OLD AND THE NEW. [viii, 8-12. 

Yer. 8. (a). For finding fault with them, he saith: 

It is erroneously supposed that tlie Apostle proceeds to prove 
his statement that the first covenant was not without fault, 
whereas For can only connect with the second and not the first 
clause of ver. 7. And this error led to a second, in which abrui^ 
is ynnedto Xiysc ^ instead of to ;jLe/j.f('i/xevu^, as its position requires,^ 
although it is admitted that it is then useless. Just this is sig- 
nificant for the Ajjostle, that in a context of the Scripture which 
is cited as God's written word, where God reproaches those put 
under the first covenant with their unfaithfulness, He does not 
declare His purpose to maintain that covenant, but that he will 
give another, and of a different sort." ^ 

Ver. 8. (b). Behold there come days, saith the Lord, and I will 
accomplish upon the house of Israel and upon the house of Judah a 
new covenant, 9. not according to the covenant that I made with 
their fathers in the day of my taking their hand to lead them forth 
out of the land of Egjrpt, for they remained not in my covenant, and 
I neglected them, saith the Lord. lO. For [But] this is the covenant 
that I will covenant with the house of Israel after those days, 
saith the Lord, putting my laws into their mind, and upon their 
heart will I write them, and I wUl be to them for God, and they 
shall be to me for a people, ll. And they shall not teach each one 
his fellow citizen and each one his brother, saying: Know the 
Lord ; for [but] all shall know me from the least to the greatest of 
them. 12. For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and their sins 
will I remember no more. 

As has been said, this lengthy citation is made in proof of 
just one point, which, also, the Author clinches by the comment 
of ver. 13. The passage does not, therefore, call for any com- 
ment in detail, but only that we should note wherein it is proof 
in point. Let the following observations make the pointedness 
clearer. " First, it is to be noted that : For (ore) they remained 
not in my covenant and I neglected them, saith the Lord (ver 9 b.) 
forms a parenthesis, consisting of a premise and conclusion ; then 
second, that the following ore (ver. 10), as the '3 of the original 
text, being opposed to the foregoing negative sentence, has the 

^ See e. g. de Wette, Liin.; Bleek, Kurtz. 

^ Comp. 2 Mace. ii. 7. ' von Hof. 

viii. 13.] I WILL BE MERCIFUL. 279 

force of a ' but ' ; and finally, third, that the same is true of the 
tJrc (ver. 11) that opposes the aU shall know me, to the foregoing 
negative ; that on the other hand on (ver 1 2) in : For I will be 
merciful to their iniquities belongs to the total promise as assign- 
ing a reason, and not to the all shall know me alone and particu- 
larly, with which it would stand in no immediate connection as 
a reason. Did Jehovah not forgive his people what they had 
sinned under the law, he would not enter into this new relation 
with them here described. The establishment of this new order 
of things is the actual proof of his forgiving their sins, and the 
forgiveness makes the new order possible. Because he proposes 
to forgive His people, he makes room for the establishment of a 
relation to Him which is not subject, as the former, to be dis- 
turbed by sinning, because the law of their life is no more out- 
wardly prescribed, but is inscribed in their hearts. But the 
Apostle meant neither the forgiveness of sins nor the inwardness 
of the law, when he mentioned the promises, with reference to 
which the divine dispensation that Jesus mediated for the Chris- 
tian is made the law of the Church.^ For the establishment of 
the latter just consist in this, that God gets Himself a Church 
that carries His will in the heart, and the promises must be just 
as distinct from this new legislation as they were distinguished 
from that of Moses. As the latter promised tlie people that 
they should be God's people in the Holy Land if they kept God's 
law, so here the Church that makes His will their will is prom- 
ised everlasting life, which ix. 15 is called 'the promise of the 
eternal inheritance.' The Scripture citation is not for the pur- 
pose of saying what are the better promises of the new divine 
dispensation, but only to prove that room is sought for a new 
and different dispensation. Accordingly, having made the cita- 
tion, the Apostle merely adds : " ^ 

Ver. 13, In that he saith : A new [covenant] he hath made the 
first old. But that which becometh old and waxeth aged is nigh 
unto vanishing away. 

This conclusion is drawn so forcibly that comment can only 
weaken its impression. We give the usual rendering. Yet the 

' Against Bleek, de Wette, Liin., Kurz, etc. * von Hof, 


language of the Apostle appears even more expressive, if we 
take the admissible rendering of von Hofmann : But that which 
becomes antiquated also grows aged, nigh to vanishing away. " It 
is common to take to Tzakaiobiisvov xai yrjpdaxov together as sub- 
ject of lyylxi aipaviffiiuu. But the foregoing sentence yields only 
the subject to Tzakaioufievov; and TzaXatooaf^ai and yr^pdaxetv are dis- 
tinguishable notions. HaXai6v is something whose time is gone 
by ; yvjpdffxov what has its end in view. Thus the latter signifies 
the same as iyylx^ d(fWH<jiwu that is added assyndetically as expla- 
natory, and is like its predicate, and thus zat', as in 2 Tim. iii. 16, 
is not " and " but also.^ 

In the foregoing chapter the Apostle has emphasized {xz<pdXaio^ 
that Jesus, being such an high priest as the Melchizedek attributes 
make Him, is a minister in heaven, which the Apostle calls the 
Holies, the true tent, which God pitched, not man, (viii. 1, 2). 
Following this with considerations that show why the high 
priestly ministry of Jesus must not be on earth (viii. 3-5), he 
affirms the difference and superiority of His ministry, viz., that 
He is mediator of a new and better covenant than the old (viii. 6), 
adding proof of the fact from prophecy that foretold the event 
(viii. 7-13). 

In chapter ix. he considers details comprehended in the 
contrasts of the foregoing chapter. The two covenants, the 
two places of discharging the ministry that the covenants demand, 
viz., in heaven and on earth, the ministry itself of the so-called 
high priests and of our High Priest ; such are the subjects, with 
the aim of showing that the priestly ministry under the old cove- 
nant must yield to that of the new. As in treating of Melchiz- 
edek, so here, the Author begins with " the elements of the be- 
ginning of the oracles of God." 

IX. 1. Now indeed the first [covenant] had also ordinances of 
service and the worldly sanctuary. 

It is obvious that " covenant " ^ is to be supplied here, because 
the covenants have just been the subject of extended remark and 
of contrast with each other. What is affirmed here is with a 

' von Hof. 

" aKJtvfi - " tent " of the Eecept. is rejected. 


tone of concession/ and the xai — also, expresses that what is con- 
ceded to the first covenant is what has been affirmed of the second. 
This refers us to viii. 2, and requires us to have in view what 
was there affirmed.^ The concession, however, is introduced by 
{j.h = indeed, that prepares the reader for a following : but, which 
we accordingly find at ver. 6,^ and where considerations are 
pressed that detract from the seeming importance of the conces- 
sions.* The Apostle does not seek to make an impression by 
understating the facts. He lets them have the benefit of their 
full value. The service in question were identified with the 
first covenant, and as such they were ordained, i. e., were juris dlvini. 
There was also the sanctuary, with its worldly character, which 
means the same as is meant viii. 4 by " on earth." * If what is 
affirmed is in the tone of concession, we need not suppose that 
worldly is added in the way of detraction, as reminding that it 
was only temporal.® It is rather reiteration of the sentiment of 
viii. 4, 5, as explained above. It is no reason why the Author 
should not affirm here that the first covenant had a worldly 
sanctuary, that he has so recently affirmed it viii. 5 ; and this can 
be no reason for taking t« re Sycov xotr/icx6v, not as object, but as a 
correlative subject with rj TZfxvrrjJ The same reasoniug would 
apply to dixmcufiara Xarpsiag, for that reiterates the o^toiv twv 

Tzpoff(f£fK')vzu)'/ y.ard iiofiov rd dcZpa. 

The Author proceeds in the same spirit of concession to de- 
scribe the tabernacle with its contents, disguising none of the 

Ver. 2. For a tabernacle was prepared, the first, in which 
[are] the candlesticks and the table, and the setting- forth of the 
loaves ; which is called Holies. 3. But after the second vail, a 
tabernacle which is called Holy of holies ; 4. having a golden altar 
of incense, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with 
gold, in which [is] a golden pot holding the manna, and Aaron's 
rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant, 5. and above it cher- 
ubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat ; of which things we 
cannot now speak severally. 

1 Liin., Del., von Hof., Lindsay. 'Against Lindsay. 

' Liin., Del., von Ilof. * von Hof. " Liin. 

8 With Angus ; against Liin., Del., von Hof. ' Against von Hof. 

282 THE HOLY OF HOLIES [ix. 2-5. 

It is out of place to comment on the things here enumerated. 
That belongs to Old Testament exegesis. It is only iraporta,nt 
to notice the Author's manner of mentioning them. It is expe- 
dient to supply " are " and " is," instead of " were " and " was " 
(vers. 4, 7)/ because it is consonant with Xi^srat, k'^ouaa (bis), 
xaraffxcd^ovra, and because the Author's farther discourse ver. 6, 
so uses the present tense ; in what way will be there explained. 
The Author's intention of disguising none of the glory of the 
things pertaining to the first covenant appears in enumerating so 
many of them, and only stopping because time does not permit 
himtoextend.the list ; and in his mentioning that the incense altar, 
was all overlaid with gold, that the pot was gold, that the rod 
budded, and in calling the cherubim, cherubim of glory, by which 
is meant cherubim that bear the divine glory.^ 

It has been charged that the Author here represents that 
the incense altar was behind the vail, i. e., in the Holy of holies,^ 
whereas it was in the anterior tent called in ver. 2, the first 
tabernacle. From this supposed ignorance there have been infer- 
ences drawn as to the person of the Author, e. g., that he was 
not familiar with the Temple, but drew his picture from reading 
the Old Testament,^ or that he was no Jew of Palestine.^ It is to 
obviate this difficulty that many translate -^uiJAarr^piov, " censer." ^ 
But the word means incense altar/ and we must explain the 
Author's mention of it consistently with that. The difficulty 
vanishes under a careful inspection of what the Author precisely 
says, as appears in the following reproduction of the comment of 
von Hofmann.^ 

It reads ypuaoov s-^nuaa i%fuaTTjpiovj the tent that was behind the 
second vail had such an altar. We read the same in 1 Kings vi. 
22. (Not indeed in the LXX, where the whole passage is badly 
mixed. But, that the Author was only acquainted with the LXX 

1 Versions of 1611, 1881. 

2 Hammond, de Wette, Ebrard, Del., von Hof., comp. Ezek. ix. 3 : x. 4. 

3 de Wette, Liin. * Liin. » gieek in Del. 

■ So the versions of 1611, 1881 ; Vulg., Stuart, Lindsay, comp. Alford's full 

' See Del., Davidson. » comp. Ebrard. 

ix. 2-5.] AND THE GOLDEN ALTAR. 283 

and not with the original text, is an assertion that we have 
already found to be erroneous). There it reads : " the altar that 
belonged to the oracle/' (t^j^S— irx). How does it come that the 
narrator mentions there the gilding of this altar immediately be- 
fore he speaks of images of the cherubim, and in a connection 
that relates entirely to the Holy of holies, if he did not regard it 
as belonging to the Holy of holies ? It is, moreover, significant 
that Ex. XXX. 6, says of the incense altar : " Thou slialt put it 
before the vail which is by [over] the ark of the testimony, be- 
fore the mercy seat that is over the testimony, (niij^n ^J3S) and 
again Ex. xl. 5, after directions about bringing the table and 
the candlestick into the tabernacle, we read : " Thou shalt set the 
altar of gold for incense before the ark of the testimony" (jnx 'JsS), 
and afterwards, (ver. 6), " Thou shalt set the altar of burnt offer- 
ing before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting 
(nin'o-Snx \2'drp nna 'jaS). As the altar of burnt offering belongs 
to the tabernacle before which it stands, so does the incense altar 
belong to the Holy of holies before which it stands. As the 
Author does not mean to give an exact description of the sanc- 
tuary, but treats of its arrangement with reference to its service, 
he separates the incense altar from the furniture of the Holies, 
and joins it to the Holy of holies whose altar it is, and to which 
it belongs on account of the nature of its service. It is objected 
that fisTo. dk TO Ssurepov xaTaTziT(T[j.a distinguishes as clearly as pos- 
sible between the things represented as found in the Holies and 
those found in the Holy of holies ; and e-^ouaa referring to 
I'/uiuar^piov has the same meaning as when used in reference to 
(Tzdiivii^ •/P'J'^^j) for both which the bj rj, referring to ttjv xijSujr/r^, de- 
termines the sense.^ But it completely turns the force of this 
objection to be reminded that when a hollow vessel e. g., a pot, 
is said to have something, it is understood, as a matter of course, 
that what it has is inside of it ; though even then it would not 
be true of its lid or handle. What a thing has, it has in that 
way that it is possible to have it from the nature of the thing. To 
use Ebrard's illustration, a store has a sign, and has goods for 
sale among its belongings ; the former is outside, and the latter 


are inside. And so the Holy of holies, says the Author, has an 
incense altar and the ark. The second vail divides tent from 
tent, not the belongings of one tent from the belongings of the 
other. Did the Author say iv rj ipu<i. ^'^up.. - " in which is the 
incense altar," as he says, " in which is the golden pot ; " and as 
he describes the contents of the Holies there would be such an error 
as is charged on him. But his choosing to say I^ooaa — having, 
which can have its appropriate, yet different sense as applied to 
the incense altar and to the ark, is evidence of his perfect knowl- 
edge of the facts of the case. 

The difficulty, thus explained away, is plainly of their own 
making w^ho entertain it as serious. It may be taken as a very 
perfect example of the alleged discrepancies to which appeal is 
made by those wdio ascribe inspiration to the sacred writers, yet 
impute to them erroneous statements of facts, even in matters 
where the statement of facts is their particular purpose. Were 
the Author guilty of the error charged on him in this instance, 
it would be a complete case of discrepancy ; for he would be in 
immediate conflict wath himself. For he could not be ignorant 
that the high priests were directed to burn incense on the incense 
altar twice every day. This direction is found Exod. xxx. 7, 8, 
immediately after the directions for setting the incense altar 
before the veil. Yet in our ver. 7, the Author represents how 
the high priests entered the Holy of holies only once a year, and 
thus, according to his alleged error, could never approach the 
incense altar oftener. What sort of an idea can one have of the 
intelligence of a M^riter, not to say of his inspiration, who admits 
such ignorance and glaring inconsistency in him ? This thought 
impresses one still more gravely, when the same persons are 
found to treat supercilliously solutions that are as satisfactory as 
the foregoing. As Ebrard says : w^hy do not such expositors 
take the final step and accuse our Author of being ignorant that 
the Tabernacle no longer existed ! For that inference they have 
all the present tenses here. 

We may treat more briefly, drawing from Ebrard, the difficulty 
that is made of the Author's representation that the pot of manna 
and Aaron's rod were inside the ark of the covenant. The objec- 

ix. 6, 7.] now THE TABERNACLE WAS USED. 285 

tion^ is, that according to Exod. xvi. 33 sq. ; Num. xvii. 25 ; 1 
Kings viii. 9, these articles were not laid in the ark, but only 
before or alongside of it. But as the ark was the only hollow 
vessel within the space of the Holy of holies ; and as there is no 
intimation of there being any shelf there, and a niche was impos- 
sible in walls made of hangings, one would infer a jyr'iori that 
these articles were placed in the ark along with the tables of the 
covenant. This inference, however, is not needed. For in Exod. 
xvi. 33, 34 ; Num. xvii. 25, it is expressly said, that these arti- 
cles were laid rinjtfn 'jaS = " before the testimony" Expositors! 
have yet to show the text wherein the ark is designated by m^'. 
This word is everywhere the designation for the Decalogue, or 
tables of the law, which, as is well known, lay in the ark. What 
was to be laid before the testimony would be laid where the tes- 
timony lay.^ When one says he has laid his condenser by the 
microscope, every one understands that both are laid in the same 

In the foregoing description of the worldly sanctuary, the 
Apostle contemplates the structure as described in the Penta- 
teuch, without any reference to the Temple as it was in the past, 
or may have been when our epistle was written. Having now 
described it, doing full justice to the glory of it, he proceeds with : 
But, to point to what marked its imperfection. 

Ver. 6. But these things having been so prepared, into the first 
tent indeed, the priests enter continually, accomplishing the ser- 
vices ; 7. but into the second the high priest alone once in the year, 
not without blood, which he offers for himself and for the errors of 
the people. 

It is erroneous to suppose that the di of ver. 6 has nothing to 
do with the (jAv of ver. 1, and thus to translate it " now."^ This 
8i brings in an antithesis to the matter introduced by the fore- 
going ij.h ; hence, it is to be translated "but."* It is not, indeed, 
the most striking antithesis that is found in Christ, which is 
represented ver. 11 sqq. ; but it is something preliminary to 
that, viz., the imperfection of the services ordained for the 

* By Bleek, in Ebrard. ' So also von Ilof. 

* As Del., Eng. Vers. 1611, 1881. * Lun., von Hof. 

286 SHOWED THAT THE WAY OF THE [ix. 6, 7. 

worldly sanctuary. Before presenting the antithesis of what our 
true High Priest is, the Apostle would show how, by its very 
character, the worldly sanctuary represented that it was for a 
period of imperfection. 

In describing the use made of the tabernacle that was so pre- 
pared, the Apostle uses the present tense {daiaffcv, Tzposipipsi). 
This is not to be ascribed to the fact that such services were 
performed at the time of writing this epistle, and that we find in 
this a reference to the existing temple service, and thus a hint of 
the date when our epistle was written.^ " The present time in 
which the Apostle's discourse moves, is not some past time, nor 
his own time, nor an ever continuing present, but a present time 
as it is there in the word of God, where is to be read how the 
sanctuary prepared by Moses is constructed, and what priests 
and high priest do in it. Into the anterior tent the priests go 
continually ; but into the posterior the high priest alone once a 
year, that is, on the one hand, only then, and on the other, ever 
again yearly, and, indeed, not without blood that he offers for 
himself and the errors of the people,^ for whom atonement is thus 
needed afresh." ^ The Apostle's representation here has specially 
to do with the use made of the tabernacle that was so prepared. 
It is not the services themselves to which he directs our notice. 
His representation calls us to notice the difference in the use of 
the anterior and posterior parts of it, the first tent and the second : 
and the fj.i'> — di = indeed — but, mark again antithesis. The first 
called the Holy place (ver. 2), was used daily and freely by the 
priests in ministering. The second called Haly of holies (ver. 
3), was used only once a year, the high priest alone entering 
there, and that not freely [od -/iopl? atimzoi) but after special 
atonement both for himself and for the people. This contrast 
marks the second tent as an inaccessible place. That it was so 
entered as it was, expresses this more than if it were never entered 
at all. For it represents that there was a use for it, whereas, 
were it never entered it would express uselessness. But used as 
it was, under such restrictions, it expressed a place and presence 

^ Against Liin., Lindsay. ' Comp. Lev. i. 5 ; vii. 33. 

' von Hof. ; comp. Davidson. 


that was for the present unapproachable. The services (A«r/)££'«?) 
of the priests that were discharged daily, were the morning and 
evening oiFering of incense, the attention to the lamps and the 
disposition of the shew bread.' The Apostle seems to confine 
the notion of services mentioned ver. 1, to what was done in the 
anterior tent. For here he only repeats the mention of them in 
that connection. What the high priest does in the Holy of 
holies is described in terms of its own that seem to distinguish 
it from what is meant by services. It confirms the thought that 
he means by services only the things above mentioned, when we 
notice that in his enumeration of the furniture of the Holies he 
mentions only the lamps and the table, and omits the altar of 
sacrifice. The point of the present statement is, that while the 
Holies was freely accessible to the ministers of divine worship, 
the Holy of holies was unapproachable. 

This was significant, and the Apostle gives the interpretation 
of it in a subjoined participial sentence. 

Ver. 8. The Holy Spirit showing this, that the way of the 
Holies hath not been manifested, while the first tent still is stand- 

The Author chooses to say : the Holy Spirit manifests, instead 
of : we are taught, or : we see, or the like ; because he would 
claim divine authority for the radical truth here exhibited. It 
is the same present time as meant in vers. G, 7, that is meant here 
again by the present tense {87jXouvto<^, k^ovirr/g). It is the whole 
present phenomenon of the tabernacle and its priestly services 
that exhibits the truth now formulated. It is the Holy Spirit 
eifective in these that makes the truth exhibited by them the 
teaching of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle assumes that his 
readers agree with himself in regarding the tabernacle and its 
appointed services as the work of the Holy Spirit, seeing they 
were in existence by virtue of the word of scripture that the 
Holy Spirit inspired. Therefore the truth they exhil)itcd was 
truth revealed by the Holy Spirit. All which is significant of 
what is to be believed concerning the inspiration of scripture. 

As to what is made manifest, let it be noted, that the way of 

'Del.: Lun. 

288 THE ANTERIOR TENT. [ix. 8. 

the holies means the way to the Holies (comp. LXX., Gen. iii. 
24; Jer. ii. 18; Matt. x. 5). Moreover, the Holies here does 
not mean the Holy of holies, or posterior tent of which the 
Apostle has been speaking. This has been commonly so under- 
stood.^ But when an author defines his terms so precisely as is 
done in vers. 2, 3, it is inadmissible that what is called in ver. 3 
ayia ayitov = " Holy of holies, should here be designated ayta = 
Holies, when, ver. 2, this word has been applied to the anterior 
tent. Neither can the Apostle by the Holies in this verse mean 
the anterior tent as he does in verse 2. He says here : the way 
of the Holies was not manifested ; and there is no conceivable sense 
in which that can be understood of the anterior tent. Our con- 
text itself represents the latter in the very contrary light. What 
misleads readers here is, that they suppose the meaning of: 
the Holies is determined by the mention of the first tent. It is, 
however, to viii. 2 we must refer for its meaning.^ There the 
Apostle has named and described what is for him the Holies or 
sanctuary. It is the true Holy place where God is, and which 
is referred to again x. 20 in the expression : " entrance into the 
Holy place." The way to this has not been made plain while 
the anterior tent stands by virtue of the word of scripture. By 
the first tent is meant the same as in ver. 2, and not the first in 
point of time,^ nor yet that this expression should here be taken 
to mean the entire worldly tabernacle.* The anterior tent is 
named without reference to the posterior, because in it alone were 
the services discharged that represented the relation the people 
had to God and the degree of access to God that they enjoyed. 
While that, in its quality as a first tent contrasted with a second 
that was an exclusively divine place, was the place where they 
could freely and daily enter (by priestly mediation), and there 
stood the Holy of holies from which all were excluded, there was 
the standing exhibition of the truth that the way to the real 
sanctuary of God's presence was not made manifest. " Further- 
more, ere does not mean * during the time that,' or ' so long as.' 
^'Eri T^9 -KpwTrj? (TXTjvYj's i)(ou<nrj^ ffrdatv expresses the reason for what 

' e. g., Del., Ebrard, Davidson. * von Hof. 

' Against Lindsay. * Against Calvin, etc. 

ix. 9.] A PARABLE FOR ITS TIME. 289 

is said not to be, and not the measure of the time during which 
it is not to be, since it must be said, wherein one may know that 
the way of the Holies is not yet revealed. By this, that the 
anterior tent still stands, thus that the house of God is so con- 
stituted, may one, who understands the mind of the Spirit, be 
aware that the way thither where God is, is not yet revealed ; for 
those belonging to the house of God it does not yet exist." ^ 

In viii. 2 the Apostle refers to heaven where Christ is mth 
God as " the Holies, the true tabernacle" — without distinction of 
a Holy place and a Holy of holies.^ There is no such distinc- 
tion either there or here, or in ver. 12. Escaping the misappre- 
hension of his meaning in the words before us, we shall see how 
gratuitous are the efforts of expositors to explain in what sense 
the Apostle finds in Christ's entering the heavenly Holies a par- 
allel to the earthly high priest passing through the Holies into 
the Holy of holies.^ 

Directing our attention, then, to the anterior tent and the use 
made of it in divine service, and having said what is thus made 
manifest, ascribing the same to the Holy Spirit, the Apostle 
adds : 

Ver. 9 a. Which [is] a parable for the time present. 

It is the anterior tent, including also the use made of it, that 
is referred to by which (^rt?). This the Apostle says is a par- 
able, and we supply " is," because the whole subject is contem- 
plated in the light of the written word present before the Author 
and his readers, as explained at vers. 6, 7. For the same reason : 
the time present is to be understood of that time when the Holy 
Ghost teaches by the existence of the anterior tent there in the 
written ordinances. That tent is a parable, i. e., a visible repre- 
sentation for (ej'f = " in reference to ") ^ the time present to which 
it belongs.^ In affirming this, the emphasis is not on : a parable, 
as if it needed to be said that teaching in this form is teaching 
by parable, or that the anterior tent had a parabolic meaning. 

' von Hof. * Com p. Angus. 

' Comp. Del., where at ver. 12 he labors with this notion. On the other 
hand, comp. Davidson, p. 174. 

* Davidson. 'von Hof; against A Iford. 



Either of these is sufficiently expressed by ver. 8 alone, and was 
sufficiently known to be so without being expressly affirmed. 
The emphasis is on : for the time present. The parable applies 
to that time. 

Reading with such an emphasis, we have evidently an uncom- 
pleted notion, unless something follows that characterizes the time 
referred to, and interprets the correspondence between the time 
and the parable. We find this complement of the notion in : 
ver. 9 6, 10. 

Ver. 9 b. During which both gifts and sacrifices are offered 
that cannot, in respect to conscience, make the worshipper perfect. 

Such being the logical order of thought in our context, we are 
obliged to adopt the reading xaff Zv} instead of xa^f i]v} 
xard = " during," has its usual temporal meaning. " The Apostle 
describes the time with reference to which the anterior tent serves 

1 With Eecept. Ebrard, von Hof., de Wette, Lindsay. 

^ Against L. ; T. ; Tr. ; W. & H., Liin., etc. " It is usual to prefer kci?' yv as 
being best supported and the more difficult reading. As regards the support 
of authorities, the agreement of the oldest translations with almost all the 
cursive MSS. weighs quite as much as the testimony of the oldest uncial MSS. 
that so often present a text that has been amended on internal grounds. And 
in the present case it could seem unavoidable to write Ka'&' tjv instead of /cai?' 
bv, if Tov Kuipbv Tov kvECTi)K6Ta was taken as referring to the present time of the 
Author. If then /cai?' ijv., too, had its difficulty, it was still the only way of 
avoiding the seemingly impossible. However, as to difficulty, one would hardly 
suppose it was felt, considering the ease with which expositors that adopt 
Ka-d' ijv get over the passage. They refer /cai?' i]v either to irapafio'kTj (Bleek, 
Del.), or to r^f ■n-purrig aKTjvfjq. (Liin.) In the latter case they are content to 
paraphrase about thus : it comports with the anterior tent, or corresponded to 
it, that sacrifices are offered that are unable to perfect the conscience. In the 
former case ; the parable, which the anterior tent is said to be, and such sacri- 
fices correspond in this, that they answer to the sanctuary that bears on its 
front the evidence of an imperfection that points away from itself. But /caiJ' ijv 
expresses more than such a correspondence, and the Apostle would say, the 
anterior tent, or the parable that it is, brings such sacrificing with it and has 
it as a consequence ; and how this is meant would be hard to say. A plainer 
sense appears in the, would be, exposition of kci?' tjv referred to irapafto?.?/ : that 
such offering is in accordance with the character of the present time that is 
visibly represented by the anterior tent. But in that case it is the time itself, 
and not the typical representation of it, that brings such offering with it ; and 
not /cai?' yv, but Ka-&' bv yields this thought." von Hof. 


as a parable. It is a time for offering both gifts and sacrifices 
without the offeriug beiug able to make perfect ' those that per- 
formed such divine service.' The juxtaposition here of gifts 
and sacrifices tr» the mention of the high priest's service on the 
great day of Atonement (ver. 7), compared with the similar and 
more ample representation of v. 1-3, constrains us to understand 
the reference to be the same as there. "The worth of this 
service, that goes along with the sanctuary so prepared, may be 
estimated by the character of the time of which this sanctuary is 
the significant emblem, a sanctuary that presents no way to God." ^ 

So judged, the Apostle defines the worth of the " gifts and 
sacrifices," first negatively, they cannot perfect the worshipper as 
to his conscience (9 6), which is essential where one may really 
draw near to God ; second affirmatively (ver. 10), stating what 
their worth amounts to : 

Ver. 10. [Being] only (with meats and drinks and divers wash- 
ings) ordinances of the flesh imposed until a time of reformation. 

Only connects with ordinances, and ordinances is in apposition 
with " gifts and sacrifices." EtzI— with has the meaning of " in 
conjunction with,"^ and joins meats, drinks and washings to 
" gifts and sacrifices," as comprised in the same categor}^ 

This, then, is the value of the gifts and sacrifices offered dur- 
ing the time the anterior tent exists. They are only ordinances 
of the flesh, which points the antithesis of the foregoing negative, 
viz., that they do not perfect the conscience. To make plainer 
the exact value of the gifts and sacrifices, they are put in the 
same plane with meats, drinks and washings. By these latter 
must be understood things commanded to be eaten,^ etc., as the 
gifts and sacrifices were commanded ((hxatd/iara) ; and not things 
forbidden as well as commanded.^ There were no washings that 
were forbidden, under Levitical law ; only such as were com- 
manded.® The prescribed meats and drinks referred to here are 
the Paschal and sacrificial meals. By the present statement, 
then, the Apostle reduces the solemn and impressive services of 

» von Ilof. « Phil. i. 3. 

' De Wctte, von Hof. * Against Lun., Del., Alford. 

' e. g., Lev. xi. 25, 28, 82, 40; xiv. <t ; xv. 6, 11, etc 

292 THE TIME OF REFORMATION. [ix. 11, 12. 

the high priest on the great day of Atonement, to the same level 
as the ordinary services discharged in the anterior tent. As such 
they had a value. They represented a relationship to God. The 
chosen people had the outward relation of being God's people. 
The observance of these outward ordinances made the worshipper 
conscious that he was a part of that people. It is said further 
that these ordinances were imposed until a time of reformation. 
This expression : imposed reflects the sentiment of Acts xv. 10, 
20, that the things in question are a burden,^ and the following 
context shows that this forms an important part of the present 
thought. But the emphatic thought is, that, not only are they 
for a time that must end, as the whole context implies, but that 
this time is followed by another that brings in a reformation " a 
straightening up;" (Si<>pi'fw(Tew<i) ; and this is said with obvious 
reference to what has just been quoted from Jeremiah in viii. 8 
sqq. There seems to be an intended antithesis of metaphor in 
dcop>')(oi. and i-ruy.tttj.. of incumbentia, steady pressing down (Ben- 
gel), and " straightening up." As such it emphasizes the con- 
trast of the former time and the time of reformation. By this 
emphasis of antithesis, the reader is prepared for what follows ver. 
12, where the expression : " everlasting redemption " occurs, and 
sees at once what is particularly in the Author's mind, and how to 
answer the question : redempticm from tchat f The foregoing pas- 
sage (vers. 6-10) represents wherein the worldly sanctuary with 
its appointed services is defective (as it relates to consciences that 
need perfecting), however perfect and glorious it may be for the 
worldly relation for which it was instituted. The mention of 
a time of reformation intimates that what is wanting, expressly 
what relates to perfecting consciences, will be supplied. " The 
picture is now completely drawn, and we are fully prepared for 
the contrast which is to be presented in the folloTving verses." ^ 

Ver. 11. But Christ having appeared, a high priest of the good 
things to come, by the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not 
made with hands, that is, not of this creation, 12. and not by blood 
of goats and calves, but by his own blood, entered once for all into 
the Holies obtaining an eternal redemption. 

^ Comp. Liin., Del., Alford, Angus, ^ Del. 

ix. 11, 12.] CHRIST THE HIGH PRIEST. 293 

The Apostle named the Redeemer, " Jesus," in his last pre- 
vious mention of Him by name (vi. 22). He now uses the name 
Christ, and with evident propriety. The foregoing expression, 
prompts its use, viz., "a time of reformation " (ver. 10), which 
would be understood to mean the time of the Messiah, or Christ. 
The expression : Christ having appeared says in other words, the 
time of reformation having come. " Having appeared is the 
usual expression for appearing, or coming forward as a historical 
person ; appearing on the stage of the world." ^ This obvious 
connection of thought settles the question as to the future intended 
by all that is represented in our verses, including the expression : 
good things to come. They fall in the present that is represented 
by what Christ is, having appeared ; especially and expressly 
the present time w^herein Christ is the High Priest He is as 
already represented.^ The future is such relatively to the 
ordained services of the worldly sanctuary whose defect has just 
been shown.^ Such being the relation of the substance of our 
verses, we see that the 5t^ = But, is the antithesis of the /icv ver. 1. 
We have seen that the di of ver. 6 introduced an antithesis of 
subsidiary and auxiliary import, that prepared for the full con- 
trast that i« now presented.* It is not Christ's appearing in 
general, but that, having appeared, he is a high priest, that is of 
importance to the Apostle's argument ; and he gives still further 
precision to the notion by calling Him high priest of the good 
things to come. The expressions TcDf ayaffwv =good things, does 
not simply mean "goods," or "possessions."* It describes the 
quality of the things to come referred to, and is even emphatic. 
Comparison is intended ; to come, as expressing future time, 
being " the time of reformation," and being in antithesis to the 
time of imperfect ordinances, when " the way of the Holies was 
not yet made manifest," and the good things being in antithesis to 

1 Alford. 

^ Instead of /ieX^Avtuv, W. and H. read ryevo/Jvuv'i = " that are come." 
Whether we adopt it or not, it is im])ortant support to the interpretation we 
give iielMyTuv. Corap. Lindsay, Davidson, comp. x. 1. 

'Against Alford, von Ilof. * Ebrard, von Ilof. 

* Against Ehrard, in a present sense, etc., von Hof., Del., etc., in a future 


the " worldly sanctuary and ordained services," and their quality 
of not-goodness that has just been shown up. It is the same 
comparison and antithesis that underlies the whole discourse of 
viii. — X. 18. The particulars of the good things to come, as far 
as they are the antithetical complement of the matters mentioned 
vers. 1-10, are mentioned in the following clauses, which ojipose 
the heavenly sanctuary M^here Christ ministere, and the use made 
of it, to the worldly sanctuary and the use made of it. When 
factors, and sufficient ones, for defining the expressions used are 
so near at hand, we are not justified in looking further for them. 
The latter is what they^ do who would have good things to come 
refer to what is still future for believers, viz., the heavenly inher- 

The following clauses that define the good things to come 
express them positively and negatively. The chief point is the 
affirmation, that Christ obtained an everlasting redemption ; what 
is said beside represents the means by which he was qualified to 
obtain this, the did being in all three instances instrumental.^ 
Thus in what he secured and in the means of his securing it we 
see the good things that mark the (for us) superior high-priest- 
hood of Christ. The thing secured comes in as a climax. The 
means are represented first. The greater and more perfect tent 
is the same as " the true tent " viii. 2 ; and : not made by hand, 
that is, not of this creation, defines it, as at viii. 2, the same is 
defined to be that " which God pitched and not man." But here 
the definition points the antithesis to the " worldly sanctuary," 
ver. 1, and to "the time being," for which it was a parable. 
This tent is made by God, and is remote from the present visible 
creation. It is by means of this greater and better tent that 
Christ is the High Priest that He is. " For as the sanctuary so 
is the priest."^ The Tabernacle of which Aaron was the high 
priest made him the high priest he was. This is not meant in 
the sense that Christ was no High Priest till He entered heaven, 
any more than it could be inferred that Aaron was no high priest 
till he entered the Tabernacle. The latter was high priest by 
virtue of his anointing to be such. And Christ, as the Anointed, 

^ Alford, Del., von Hof., etc. * So von Hof. ^von Hof. 

ix. 11, 12.] ENTERED ONCE FOR ALL. 295 

described Isa. Ixi. 1, 6, 10 ; Ps. ex. 4, was High Priest in virtue 
of His being Christ. Yet, neither could be high priest without 
the place of high-priestly ministry ; as the present condition of the 
Jews, without a temple, shows, with regard to Levitical high 
priests. As the place, i. e,, the Tabernacle, characterized the 
time when it had valid existence, so the place of Christ's minis- 
try, that is, the Holies, or heaven, characterizes the " time of 
reformation," and makes Him High Priest of good things. It 
is a time when the way of the Holies is made manifest,^ and, as 
ver. 12 says, he entered there. 

The next particular is expressed negatively and positively : 
And not by means of blood of goats and calves, but by means of 
his own blood. The reference is to the sacrifices of the great day 
of atonement,^ with special reference to the mention of the same 
ver. 9, and which are now specified. The sacrificial service of a 
priest makes him the priest he is, as much as the sanctuary.^ 
Therefore the subject matter here justifies us in taking dtd again 
as instrumental, as it does in the foregoing case ; nor do we see 
how the audi forbids its having the same reference to dpx'-P- ^- z^- 
ayafHb-^.* The sacrifice of the high priest on the day of atone- 
ment gave the chief significance to his office. What such sacri- 
fices amount to, the Apostle has just said (vers. 9, 10). Christ is 
not the high priest that such sacrifices make one. But by his 
own blood, this is the positive representation. It reiterates the 
sentiment of viii. 27. By means of that he is a High Priest 
of good things, thus, as the antitheses to the foregoing negative 
shows, of better things ' than what the Apostle has called " ordi- 
nances of flesh" (ver. 10). 

The particulars just mentioned point out how Christ is the 
High Priest he is ; the next represents him acting as so qualified. 
He entered the Holies once for all. The construction of our verses 
is as follows : Christ is subject, with having appeared in agree- 
ment as participial predicate ; a high priest of good things to come 
is in apposition with the subject, with : by means of ... his own 

^ Comp. ver. 8. ' I^ev. xvi. 14, 15. ' Conip. viii. 3. 

* Against von Ilof. ; coinp. Winer, p. 487, note 2; Kiiliner Gramm. II. p. 
832, 833 ; and Del. in von Hof., in loc. * Coiap. ver. 13, 14. 

296 BY HIS OWN BLOOD. [ix. 11, 12. 

blood, adjoined as explaining the means ; and entered . . . once 
for aU is predicate. The Holies that Christ entered is heaven ; ^ 
nor is it to be thought to mean something different from the more 
perfect tent. Here, as at viii. 2, " the Holies " and " the tent " 
mean the same. As has been learned above (ver. 1-10), the 
Apostle does not transfer to heaven the distinction of Holies and 
Holy of holies. That which he has called tent he now calls Holies 
with reference to the corresponding act when the Levitical high 
priest entered the Holies of holies. 

Once for all is meant as at vii. 27 ; he entered to continue there 
a high priest forever. To this predicate is added another, parti- 
cipially, expressed in the aorist (supdfis)^,,?), which signifies that 
what is so predicated " is contemporary with the aorist itself, 
siff^Xi^sv." ^ The redemption was obtained when he entered, and 
by his efntering. This may be best rendered in English : he en- 
tered . . . and obtained an everlasting* redemption. Before con- 
sidering what is meant by the redemption, we may note, that its 
being everlasting is to be ascribed to his having entered the 
Holies once for all to continue there a high priest forever, in the 
same sense and with the same effect as the Apostle has repre- 
sented vii. 27, 28. While he is there and ministering the re- 
demption lasts. 

Regarding kurpwac? = redemption, close attention to our con- 
text reveals that it is commonly taken ^ in a much larger sense 
than the Apostle means here, and larger than the word can be 
made to bear of itself. Its New Testament use * gives no evi- 
dence of its having acquired a distinctively evangelical sense, 
such as some capital words and terms have acquired, and such as 
" redemption " itself has since acquired. And, it may be ob- 
served, there is no ground for such a remark as that : " Xbrpuxnq is 
used by St. Luke only ; dKoXurpwffi? is St. Paul's word, occurring 
also in Luke xxi. 28, and in our ver. 15, and xi. 35," ^ as if this 

' viii. 1, 2. 

* Alford ; comp. Ebrard, Del., von Hof., Davidson ; against Lindsay. 
' e. g., Lindsay. 

* Luke i. 68 ; ii. 38 ; Acts vii. 35, the only instances ; comp. LXX. Ps. cxi. 
9; exxx. 7. ^ Alford; comp. Del. 


furnished some evidence as to the authorship of our epistle. As 
we fiud the word used, " it must literally denote, not redemption 
or ransom, but the act of freeing or releasing, i. e., deliverance ; 
not with reference to the pei-son delivering, but to the person 
delivered, and therefore in the passive sense, like most substan- 
tives in — (7;9, Latin — io." ^ The solvent of its meaning is the 
question : what redemption f To which the answer is : your (the 
reader's) redemption, i. e., release. On this follows the question : 
release, or deliverance from what f which can only be answered 
from the context. In Ps. cxi. 9, it is deliverance from the 
bondage of Egypt. In Ps. cxxx. 7, 8, it is deliverance out of 
calamities that are recognized as the chastisement of sins. In the 
other New Testament passages, it is deliverance by the Messiah 
from Roman and every other dependence.^ In our verses it 
must be what the context shows, and not something involved in 
the word itself and self-evident. That meaning is not deter- 
mined by the expression : " by his own blood ; " for we have 
found that to relate to " high priest," as showing by what means 
Christ is the High Priest that he is. And whether we take " by 
his own blood," as showing, directly or indirectly, the meaning of 
the XuTf)vj(Tfi, it does not answer the question : redeemed from 
what ? but only : what is the ransom ? Comparing the use of 
h'j-piry, we observe that there is no answer, Matt. xx. 28 ; IVIark 
X. 45, to the question : ransom from what ? but only to the 
question : what is the ransom ? Again comparing the use of the 
verb hjTpi'nt) in the three instances of its New Testament use, we 
find that the answer to the question : ransom from what? is in 
Luke xxiv. 21, one thing, in Tit. ii. 14 another, in 1 Peter i. 18, 
still another. And in all these instances the ransom is the same, 
viz., the life, or blood of Christ, or, himself. AVe reiterate, there- 
fore, the answer here to the question : ransom from what ? must 
be what the wntext makes it, and that may be different from what 
it is in any of the foregoing instances. Such is actually the case. 

The redemption is " deliverance " or " " for the readers 
and all like them, and that in respect to what the context repre- 
sents as a condition that needs release o'r deliverance. This rep- 

* Cremer, Lex. suh voc. * Corap. Meyer on Luke i. 68. 

298 REDEMPTION FROM WHAT? [ix. 11, 17. 

resentation we have had in the expression dixatmimra (japxo<i — 
enixsifieva = " ordinances of the flesh imposed ^ (ver. 10). In ver. 
14, the Apostle expressly shows that he has these in mind in the 
present expression obtained redemption. The very point of the 
triumphant inference of vers. 13, 14, is, that the blood-ransom 
of Christ delivers from the incumbent load of these ordinances 
of flesh, or, as he there expresses it, " cleanses the conscience 
from dead works." Minds familiar with the large and compre- 
hensive meaning commonly ascribed to our word redemption, 
will revolt at the simple and limited meaning now ascertained 
for it. To such it will seem little and pitiful. But this is only 
a kind of prejudice with which we are continually confronted in 
the study of this epistle.^ Yet it will serve to reassure those 
who feel thus, to read 1 Peter i. 18, 19. There the Apostle 
Peter, while he impressively enhances the worth of the ransom, 
calling it : " the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb blameless 
and spotless," says, that it ransoms his readers " from their vain 
conversation delivered unto them by their heathen fathers." If 
that is a worthy representation, so is this that we find in our 
text. Our's is even superior. A release from burdensome ordi- 
nances which God himself imposed is more glorious, as it is more 
wonderful, than release from traditions imposed by heathen an- 
cestry. It is the special aim of this Epistle to expound God's 
will in this matter as revealed by the Son that speaks for God 
in these last days of revelation.^ 

This redemption, or release from the burden of ordinances of 
the flesh, is called an everlasting redemption by which is meant 
that it is release forever from them. In stating that Christ 
procured this redemption, the Apostle represents that it was done 
simultaneously with Christ's entering the Holies. The point of 
the statement of our verse is, not to show how the redemption 
was procured, but that it was procured, and that it was procured 
when Christ entered the Holies. As Christ entered there a 
qualified High Priest once for all, i. e., to continue there a High 

^ Comp. on ver. 10. * ' Comp. above under vii. 25. 

^ i. 1 sqq. 

ix. 13, 14.] CURIOUS INQUIRIES. 299 

Priest forever, therefore the redemption, or release from the bur- 
den of ordinances of flesh is an evelasting redemption.' 

The Apostle adds a comment to the statement just made, that 
is meaut to enforce the affirmation that Christ " obtained an ever- 
lasting redemption. With this the For connects, introducing a 

Ver. 13. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of 
a heifer sprinkling them that have been defiled, sanctify unto the 
cleanness of the flesh ; 14. how much more will the blood of Christ, 
who by an eternal spirit off'ered himself without blemish unto God, 
cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 

The things compared here are on the one hand tiie sacrifices 

^Any extendeil commentary on our verses will show how much that is usually 
discussed as if belonging to them is untouched in the above exposition. Take, 
for example, Delitzsch's extended comment so respectfully referred to by 
Alford. According to that, we must determine: what future good things^ 
possessions, are meant by "good things to come," with nothing but the expres- 
sion itself to help us. Understanding them to be the future inheritance of 
believers, we are to say: what may be meant by them. Again we must con- 
sider the problems suggested by the interpretation that understands the Apostle 
to represent that Clirist entered the Holies ' through the tent not made with 
hands," and " through Ilis own blood." Tliey are sucli as these : Does this 
more perfect tabernacle denote the sinless humanity of Clirist? If so, is that 
"the humanity of Christ simply as such," which is an ancient view, or "the 
Lord's glorified humanity as the true tabernacle or habitation of God, in which 
the fulness of the divine nature dwells bodily" (Col. ii. 9), which is von Ilof- 
mann's view. Then, again : What different notions are expressed by "greater 
tabernacle and the Holies?" A.ssuming them to mean different things corre- 
sponding to the anterior and posterior tents, how can Christ be said to enter 
the Holies^ Holiest of all, through His own body=:the more perfect taber- 
nacle? Or, if there is no such tautology, and we accept the meaning to be: 
per ctrlos in cMum inr/ressus e.s7, without involving any absurdity (Del.), then 
which are "the heavens," and which is "the heaven" intended? Again, how 
shall we understand that Christ entered he.-iven "by His own blood ?" Does 
He take the blood with Him? or must we think only of the effusion of His 
blood before entering? Is Christ's glorified body bloodless (vonllof.)? Did 
He enter heaven with a bloodless body, yet with His blood, "carrying His own 
blood for us in separation from His body into heaven " (Bengel in Del.) ? 
How does this view, or any view comport with the sacrament of the body and 
blood of Christ? Again, taking Xhrfjuai^ in the comprehensive sense of ransom 
from sin, are we to understand that the ransom was paid to God, or was it 
paid to Satan? The view that leads to such iiKjuiries, unconsciously perhaps, 

300 A MINORI AD MAJUS. [ix. 13, 14. 

used on the great day of atonement (Lev. xvi.), and the ashes of 
the heifer according to Num. xix., and their efficacy, and on the 
other hand, Christ's blood and its efficacy as seen in his offering 
himself by it to God. A particular effect of the former is con- 
trasted with a particular and similar effect of the latter, and 
therefrom the Apostle presses an inference, with an argument 
a minori ad majus. The former, which is conceded to be true, 
is that the Levitical ordinances mentioned sanctify to the clean- 
ness of the flesh. This was an outward purity that constituted 
one right in his relations toward God so far as being right 
in his relations to the people of God, i. e., rightly one of 
that people, expressed that. This effect the ordinances in ques- 

yet really regards the expression " obtained an everlasting redemption " as if 
the chief notion it presents is that Christ does to achieve redemption, whereas 
we have seen that it presents the notion of what is achieved, viz., release or 
deliverance of those concerned. Influenced by the erroneous view just men- 
tioned, expositors suppose the Antlior aims to point the antitypical parallel 
between Christ and His high-priesthood, with the true tabernacle and His own 
blood, on the one hand, and the Levitical or typical high priests and the 
worldly sanctuary and its ordained sacrifices, detailed ver. 1-10 on the other ; 
and that the aim is limited to that. Delitzsch, with Alford concurring, even 
makes our ver. 12 the end of a section on the priesthood of Christ ; the section 
being the second (vii. 26 — ix. 12), which "compares Christ as High Priest with 
the higli priests of the Old Testament." How this does violence to the logi- 
cal connection of vers. 13, 14, has already appeared, and will appear further, 
when we consider those verses. 

The understanding we have ascertained of our verses shows that the above 
problems have nothing to do with the thoughts the verses present to us. Some 
of the problems suggested, seeing they have no other suggestion than the 
erroneous understanding of our verses, are unscriptural notions altogether. 
Such is the notion of Christ's entering heaven where He is and where believ- 
ers are to enter and be with Him, through some heaven that is not that heaven, 
which is yet represented by the anterior tent as the way of the Holies ; or that, 
(so Del.), through the heaven, where believers and Christ, with angels, live in 
God's manifested presence and enjoy the beautiful vision, Christ passed into 
the Holiest {ra ayia), viz., "the illocal place of the infinite, self-contained, self- 
centred Godhead," or in other words, into " that eternal heaven of God Him- 
self which is His own manifested eternal glory, and existed before all worlds." 
Other problems, that may be scriptural, are only remotely, or not at all con- 
nected with the scripture before us. To notice them in order to show this can 
only distract our attention. We may ignore them as matters not suggested by 
what we are studying. 


tion had, by virtue of tlieir being ordained for tliat purpose. 
The Apostle says if they sanctify, using the present tense. This 
he does with reference to the convictions and practice of those with 
whom he is reasoning. The direct address to his readers 
expressed by the following uijmv begins with the present words. 
They used these rites or at least Ipoked upon them as having the 
effect mentioned and conceded. In contrast with this he says : 
How much more will the blood of Christ cleanse, using the future 
tense. The motive for the future, compared with the foregoing 
present, is that the effect described in the future is not a matter 
of conviction and experience to those addressed as the other is. 
Nor can it be while they use the other. It will be, if they see 
that power of the blood of Christ as it is now represented. The 
Apostle says you and not "us," as he uses the first person plural 
X. 10, 19, 22, because he does not share the convictions that need 
correction. Thus the progress of thought in our passage con- 
firms the reading u/zoiv, instead of tj/j-w'^ ^ ver. 14, which is, how- 
ever, sufficiently established on other grounds. The last preced- 
ing direct address to the readers was at vi. 2. 

The Apostle cannot mean to represent here that the blood of 
Christ will cleanse consciences so as to effect a perfect inward 
spiritual relation toward God, and do it much more than the 
Levitical ordinances referred to will do what is ascribed to them. 
It is, indeed, the truth, that the blood of Christ cleanses from all 
sin, and in due season the Apostle expresses it.^ But not here. 
Whether we take : Much more to mean much more easi/i/,, or 7nuch 
more perfectly, it is impossible to impute such reasoning to such 
an Author, and to an Apostle. One cannot reason a minori ad 
majus by using terms that have nothing in common. Such, how- 
ever, would be the procedure, did one say : The blood of bulls 
cleanses the flesh ; much more, then, must the blood of Christ cleanse 
the conscience, i. e., give inward purity.^ This might be rhetoric, 
but not argument ; as one might say : A bath cleanses the body; 
much more the word of God cleanses the soul. The Apostle, how- 
ever, uses argument, not rhetoric. Moreover, if a suppressed 

' Alford. * See below in vcr. 26 b. 

' Comp. Davidson. 


premise could be found ^ to adjust the above minor and major in 
the sense that the major would represent that Christ's blood more 
easily or more perfectly cleanses the conscience of guilt than the 
Levitical ordinances gave fleshly purity, then we have a represen- 
tation that conflicts with what we otherwise believe on Scriptural 
grounds. The blood of Christ will cleanse from guilt, and will 
certainly and fully do so.^ But scripture and, what is more to the 
point, our epistle,^ teaches that all that blood, with all that gives it 
value was needed to procure that benefit. Nothing justifies us in 
regarding it as more than enough. On the other hand, the blood 
of goats and bulls sufficed for the cleansing for which they were 
appointed. And both the latter and the former were efficient by 
virtue of the same thing, viz., God's having ordained them for 
that effect. Effects referred to a cause whose sufficiency is iden- 
tical cannot properly be spoken of as if one had more facile or 
more perfect efficiency than the other in their respective spheres. 
The Author does not represent such a thing. What he repre- 
sents is something that enforces the truth affirmed, ver. 12, 
that Christ obtained an everlasting redemption from the imposed 
ordinances of the flesh. Our vers, 13, 14 are an appeal to his 
readers, who rely on the efficacy of these ordinances, to see in 
the blood of Christ a greater efficacy of the same kind. By the 
blood of goats and bulls they were sanctified in the cleansing of 
the flesh, so that they might appear before God in the service on 
earth. But as often as they offered themselves for such service 
it must be by repeating the cleansing. If they saw such efficacy 
in these things, why did they not see a greater efficacy in the 
blood of Christ, viz., that it cleansed not merely the flesh, and 
for a year, or till the next contact with a corpse, but that it 
cleansed them forever and thus perfectly, so that their consciences 
even were cleansed from feeling any need of renewed recourse to 
these fleshly ordinances of cleansing ? Such an argument is a 
pure instance of a minori ad majits.* The Apostle both has the 
thought and attaches importance to it, that the blood of Christ 

^ Davidson finds it in the following clauses. 

2 Comp. below on ver. 26 b. ' Comp. ii. 10, 11, 17. 

* Comp. the a fortiori, x. 28, 29 ; also the a minori, Matt. vi. 30 ; Eom. v. 10. 

ix. 13, 14.] ARGUMENT OF IX. 11-14 303 

sanctifies tlie people of God to the cleansing of the flesh or body, 
as appears when he says : " having had our hearts sprinkled from 
an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." As 
he expresses the thought elsewhere, we may suppose he means it 
here, if it fits lierc, and the present expressions are adequate to 
represent it.^ In presenting this argument, the Apostle assumes the 
efficacy of the blood of goats and bulls, in the matter of cleans- 
ing, and opposes to it the blood of Christ with the statement of 
an efficacy it has shown, which is also assumed as admitted, and 
from this he presses the inference, that the latter will cleanse the 
conscience from dead works to serve the living God. 

The Apostle vers. 11, 12 has represented Christ as High Priest 
of good things to come, i. e., that have come, and, pointing the 
correspondence to the high priest's action on the great day of 
atonement, has first stated, that by means of His own blood 
Christ entered the Holies. By this entrance He offered Himself 
in the presence of God.^ In his present appeal to the blood of 
Christ as contrasted with the blobd of goats and bulls, he 
opposes to what the latter effects, what the blood of Christ has 
effected, viz., that by it Christ offered himself without spot to God, 
meaning what Christ did when He entered the Ht)lies. That 
such is the meaning, and not that the clause : who offered himself 
unto God, is epexigetical of the blood of Christ, meaning that He 
offered Himself up as a sacrifice on the cross,^ appears, not only 
from the logical connection just noticed, but also from the mean- 
ing of 7rp(>/T(fi/n'.v as distinguished from (hafipti'^ explained under 
vii. 27.^ Did the Apostle mean to refer here to Christ's shedding 
His blood on the cross, he would here, as at vii. 27, use the word 
a'Mx<pipziv. But meaning to point to an effect of that blood when 
shed, viz., that by it Christ entered tlie Holies, as the high priest 
entered the earthly Holies, and so offered Himself to God, he 
uses npoacpiiniy. In SO understanding the r.poiTfip. as relating to 
what Christ did when entering heaven, and not as relating to 
what He did on the cross, we do not lend ourselves to interest of 

'x. 22; comp. xii. 24; xiii. 12. * Conip. bolow on ver. 24. 

^AsdeWette, Del., Alfonl, Davidson. 

* Comp. von llof., in loc, and on ver. 14; and above on viii. 3. 

304 BY AN ETERNAL SPIRIT, [ix. 13, 14. 

the Socinian interpretation which does the same.^ The latter 
ignores the efficacy of the sacrifice oji the cross. The meaning 
we obtain assumes it. 

In describing the efficacy of Christ's blood, that by it he offered 
Himself without spot to God, the Apostle adds the further con- 
sideration, viz., that He so offered Himself by an eternal spirit. 
The did is instrumental,^ as we found it in vers. 11, 12, and 
expresses by what means Christ offered Himself to God. It was 
by virtue of what He was, viz., an eternal spirit ; for the expres- 
sion describes Christ Himself,^ and does not mean the Holy 
Spirit, either directly * or indirectly.^ The expression introduces 
under another form the notion already emphasized so much, that 
Christ is a High Priest forever, and that He forever lives to make 
intercession for His people. It answers to the expression vii. 1 5, 
where, in contrast with the Levitical priesthood, Christ is said to 
be a priest " according to the power of an indissoluble life.^ In 
fact our present expression : who by an eternal spirit offered him- 
self without spot to God, resumes in brief the description of 
Christ, vii."26-28. Added to the expression : the blood of Christ, 
it expands the effect of that blood, representing it as an ever- 
living and valid effect. From this the inference is pressed: 
how much more will that blood cleanse your conscience from dead 
works to serve the living God. 

Cleansing the conscience from works does not express an 
antithesis to : sanctifying to the cleanness of the flesh. It 
expresses the same notion raised to a higher power. We may 
compare for illustration Paul's argument, Rom. v. 10 : " If, 
while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the 
death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved 
by his life." In this statement, " saved " is not the antithesis of 
" reconciled," but the same notion expressed in its perfected 
result. So, also, cleanness of the flesh effected by sprinkling of 
blood, and of ashes of an heifer, is effected in its highest power, 

' See that use in Grot., Bleek ; quoted in von Hof., Stuart, Alford. 

* So von Hof. ^ Davidson. * Against de Wette, Bengal, Lindsay. 

' Against Bleek in Del. 

' Biehm p. 525 sqq., Davidson ; against von Hof. 

ix. 13, 14.] DEiVD AVORKS. 305 

i. e., in perfection, when the conscience is cleansed from these 
works, so as no more to feel the need of them. This receives a 
clearer expression, when, at x. 14, we read, " by one offering he 
has perfected forever them that arc sanctified." 

The Apostle calls the Levitical rites of cleansing, dead works ; 
for such is his reference in using this expression.' By calling 
them dead, the Apostle pronounces the sentence of their abroga- 
tion, and introduces a topic, in the fashion we have observed 
before, that he will resume and elaborate.^ They are dead works 
because they belong to a time that has expired, and have thus 
lost all validity ; and because they, any way, could not make 
perfect as to conscience.^ Thus, also, they are dead as unable to 
impart or sustain life, and are unfit to use in serving God. The 
Apostle has used the expression dead works vi. 1. And we may 
note, by the way> that the present importance attached to them 
as a matter of instruction, confirms the view of their place in 
"going on to full-growth," that we presented there. At vi. 1, 
the Apostle speaks of " repentance from dead works ; " here of 
" cleansing the conscience from dead works." As we find the 
expression : dead works no where else, we can infer its meaning 
only from the Author's usage. The notion vi. 1 and here is 
identical. A conscience that needs cleansing from dead works is 
a conscience of dead works in a sense like that in which we speak 
of: "conscience of an idol."* And the conscience is cleansed of 
dead works when it repents of them, *. e., forsakes them for just 
and sufficient reason. The reason is sufficient when one sees the 
efficacy of Christ's blood. By that blood Christ offered Himself 
to God. To gather up the full expression of this thought from 
some of the expressions of our epistle, let us say : by that blood 
Christ entered the Holies, that is. He entered into heaven itself; 
to appear in the presence of God for us, and by that offered Him- 
self without spot to God, by which is meant His correspondence 
to a sacrifice, without blemish ; and there He is the High Priest 
we need, holy, guileless, undefiled, removed from sinners, a 

1 So de Wette, Del., etc. ^ .x. 1-18. « vii. 19 ; i.x. 0, 10. 

* Corap. 1 Cor. viii. 7 ; whether tlie correct reading or not, it is correct in 


306 THE LIVING GOD. [ix. 13, 14. 

high priest of good things to come, i. e., that have come. Such 
is the comprehensive thought from which the Apostle makes the 
self-evidential inference : how much more. The special point is, 
that by His blood He offered Himself to God, with the thought 
understood, that it was for us. The resistless inference is, that 
by that blood they, the readers, may present themselves to God, 
and having that cleansing they need no other, and their conscience 
is freed from ever having recourse to the ordinances on which 
they have heretofore relied, which are consequently only dead 
works for them. They are thus and always in a relation to God 
that permits them to approach Him and engage in His service.^ 

The Apostle says : to serve the living God. And here we may 
notice that at vi. 1, " repentance from dead works, and faith on 
God," is a conjunction of notions similar to : " cleansing the con- 
science from dead works to serve the living God." Living God 
must be more than an elegant antithesis to dead works.^ " It 
stands in correct and logical antithesis to dead works." ^ This 
we may assume in the interpretation of such an Author, who 
never wastes a word. Yet what that antithesis is exactly, is hard 
to detect, as the varying explanations of expositors prove. 

Taken without the qualification living ; in order to serving 
God has a plain meaning. It is, first of all, approaching God 
with boldness, assured that through our High Priest we may do 
so, and do it continually, as the Apostle has exhorted iv. 16, and 
at vii. 25 reiterated the sufficient ground. In the second place, 
and that is the thought expressed here, it is a service such as the 
second covenant demands, when, as the language of Jeremiah, 
quoted viii. 10, shows, the laws of God are written in the hearts 
of His people. The service must be such as corresponds to those 
laws. The first notion the Apostle reiterates again x. 19-22, in 
a concluding resume, and again with amplification xii. 22-24. 
The second, relating to serving God, he amplifies xii. 28 — xiii. 6. 
With this serving God, the notion living God must consist. As 
the approaching and the serving God are notions that are reiter- 
ated by the Author, we may expect to find the notion he would 
express by living God recurring in the same connection. At xii. 
» X. 19-23. ^ As Calvin. =» Ebrard. 

ix. 13, 14.] A NEW PHASE OF THOUGHT. 307 

22 the approach to God is described as " coming to the city of 
the living God," and in the same context (vers. 28, 29) we read : 
" Let us have grace whereby we may offer service {karpeuw/uv) 
well-pleasing to God with reverence and awe ; for our God is a 
consuming fire." These thoughts remind us of iii. 12 with its 
warning, and of iv. 12 sqq. where the Apostle has said in mina- 
tory language ; " The word of God is living and active and 
sharper than any two-edged sword," etc. And with a similar 
sentiment, he says, x. 31 : " It is a fearful thing to fall into the 
hands of the living God." Moreover, the last quoted expression 
is joined, as we shall see, to a warning against such a return to 
legal observances for sanctification as is tantamount to rejecting the 
Son of God and despising the blood of the covenant wherewith 
one was sealed. We are thus constrained to think that the 
expression living God in our verse, is meant to intimate the same 
thing that is more fully expressed x. 31 . Conjoined with dead works 
it is a preliminary note of the alarm that is fully sounded at x. 
2f6-31. While the present argument shows that the blood of 
Christ sanctifies so as finally and perfectly to fit one to serve God, 
the word : living warns the reader to beware of serving God 
with works that are ordinances of the flesh, and belong to a 
broken covenant that is replaced by a new covenant ; that are 
dead works because God has abrogated them, and must be deadly 
works to him who brings them to the living God. It is because 
of this background of his thoughts, which he will soon bring into 
the foreground, that the Apostle does not say simply, that the 
blood of Christ cleanses the conscience from works of the flesh to 
serve God ; but he says from dead works, to serve the living 

The Apostle has pointed to the blood of Christ and ITis offer- 
ing of Himself by it to God, and how, by virtue of His being an 
eternal spirit, what He did has everlasting efficacy, so that 
His blood cleanses so com])letely from transgressions that the 
conscience feels no more need of the Levitical cleansings. In 
this, while still pressing the force of the truth thus far made so 
prominent in this epistle, viz., that Christ lives, he has given 
special prominence to His death, and the effect of that. This 

308 THE DEATH OF CHRIST. [ix. 15. 

introduces a transition in his discourse, which, to x. 18, presses 
the importance and significance of Christ's having died. In 
vers. 13, 14 he has interrupted the course of his argument by 
one of those direct appeals, so characteristic of the first six cliap- 
ters ; but a shorter one. It is as if he paused after a convinc- 
ing presentation of his subject, to give it instant eiFect, and claim 
the legitimate fruit of it on the spot. This trait of the context, 
and the characteristic of the subsequent discourse just noted, and 
especially the totally new phase of thought presented in the use 
of dia^xfj in the changed sense of testament, require us to recog- 
nize that the discourse takes a fresh start.' This understanding: 
requires us to take ruuro as referring forward to what follows.^ 
The reference to what precedes is admissible only so far as vers. 
13, 14, represent a need for cleansing from transgressions that is 
supplied by Christ's death.^ But as that notion is resumed in 
the following dq ar^olurpioGiv . . . Tzapa[idatwv, the reference back- 
ward is gratuitous. 

Ver. 1 5. And for this cause he is mediator of a new cove- 
nant, that death having taken place for redemption of the trans- 
gressions under the first covenant, they that have been called may 
receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 

Though the discourse takes a fresh start, it has a close connec- 
tion with what immediately precedes. The Apostle is dealing 
with readers that have a conscience of sins, viz., transgressions as 
determined by the Mosaic ordinance, and think they can be 
cleansed from them only by the prescribed Levitical rites. He 
has just concluded a representation that shows that the blood of 
Christ gives that cleansing in a perfect way, viz., once for all. 
He now assumes this as proved, and does so expressly in the 
clause : for redemption of the transgressions under the first cove- 
nant, and proceeds to represent the eifect. By : transgressions 
under the first covenant, is not meant those of all mankind ; * 
nor does it directly mean the transgressions of the covenant peo- 

^ Comp. Davidson. 

* With Ebrard and many ; see in Liin. ; against Liin., Del., Alford, von Hof., 
Davidson, etc. 
' Comp. Davidson. * Against Alford. 

ix. 15.1 XoTpwffc?, aTToXurpujffii. 309 

pie iu all the past since God gave the first covenant, as if the 
Apostle expressed that Christ's death had retrospective, or ex post 
facto efficacy.' The Apostle has the covenant people of the present 
time iu mind, particularly his readers, and their transgressions, 
or conscience of transgressions under the first covenant. He has 
already represented the concrete case (vers. 13, 14) as it concerns 
his readers. He now, for his further argument presents the truth 
iu the abstract. By compelling inference, however, this retro- 
spective effect of Christ's death must be believed, since all must 
be saved by Him, and in the same way. And this inference is 
corroborated by the statement of xi. 40. As at ver. 1 2 the Apostle 
calls the eifect of Christ's sacrifice Xbrpwaiv, so he here calls it 
a-oXurpojav^. The former applies to the persons delivered ; the 
latter to the transgressions from whose consequences they are 
delivered.^ We can only render both words in English by 
redemption, meaning deliverance.^ This return to substantially 
the same expression as iu ver. 12, shows that the alternate or 
synonymous expression "cleanse the conscience" ver. 14 means, 
as we have represented, a cleansing so complete that one is deliv- 
ered forever from all concern about Levitical means of cleansing. 
The very transgressions themselves have been redeemed. Thus 
assuming the truth of the foregoing representation, and expressly 
resuming it, the Apostle says, referring to the expression of it by 
Tiiozi) : For this cause he is mediator of a new covenant that death 
having taken place— those called, may receive the promise of the 
eternal inheritance. In this statement the empliatic notion is 
presented iu : death having taken place. It is by means of this 
that those called receive the promise which is the chief effect, the 
deliverance from transgressions being the preliminary condition.* 
This reference to trangressions under the first covenant, and the 
term those called (comp, iii. 1), and the mention of tlie promise 
of the everlasting inheritance, continue to show that the Apostle 
has particularly in mind here, as in all that has preceded, purely 
his Jewish readers, and that his aim is to show how Christ is 
mediator of a new covenant for them. That He is such a ^lodia- 

* Against von Ilof., Del., Lindsay, Davidson. ' ( omp. xi. 35. 

* See on ver. 12. * Comp. viii. 12. 

310 A MEDIATOE BY DEATH. [ix. 15. 

tor has been already represented viii. 6-13. And following that, 
the betterness of that covenant and the superiority of Him that 
mediates it have been represented by displaying the nature of 
that covenant itself, and as compared with institutions belonging 
to the first covenant, and by showing what Christ accomplishes, 
Christ that lives forever a High Priest at God's right hand. Now 
it is to be shown what a mediator he is hy virtue of His dying. 
Not that this aspect of Christ's mediatorial work has been with- 
out mention in the previous discourse. From i. 3 (" having 
made purification of sins ") to the present, it has received fre- 
quent mention, which has grown in distinctness, all which has 
served to bring it more and more into prominence. To the 
present, however, the dying of Christ and the efficacy of His 
blood has kept that relative place in the discourse expressed at i. 
3, where the notion is introduced participially as related to the 
chief theme, viz., Christ the high priest at the right hand of the 
Majesty on high. Now it is presented for particular considera- 
tion. Christ that has been represented as the mediator of a new 
covenant in other respects, is here said to be such on this account, 
viz., so that (oVw?, expressing the aim, and {^avdrou ysvo/xivou, with 
the consequences ascribed to it being the thing in view, or the 
final cause), death having taken place, the called may receive the 
promises. On receive the promises, comp. vi. 15. Evidently 
^avdroo yevo/i. is, as has been said, the emphatic notion. In view 
of the foregoing discourse, nothing else in the verse that is 
affirmed of the mediatorship is singular enough to receive 
emphasis.^ But the sufficient reason for understanding the 
emphasis to be there is, that the dying of Christ is immediately 
discoursed upon with a view to showing the need of it and the 
efficacy of it. 

Our ver. 15 presents the theme of discourse till x. 18. The 
clause : death having taken place . . . the promise presents a topic 
that is amplified in vers. 16-28, in which vers. 16-26 deal with 
the emphatic thought, that Christ's dying was necessary to His 
being Mediator of the new covenant, while the (at present) 
emphatic thought of what is the final effect of that death, viz., 

^ Against Del., who emphasizes Kaiv^g ; and Lun., who emphasizes 6iad7)KT)q. 

ix. 16.] ARGUMENT OF ix. 15-22. 311 

receiving the promise by those that are called, reappears vers. 27, 
28, iu : shall appear . . to them that wait for him, unto salvation. 
In vers. 16-26 the Apostle shows the necessity for Christ's death 
by an accumulation of appeals fitted to meet the objections of 
Jewish minds that found in the cross of Christ a stumbling block. 
The first appeal vers. 16, 17 (which according to what we observe 
to be a part of the Author's style, starts from the latest expres- 
sion used, viz., the everlasting inheritance), cites the case of testa- 
ments and common usage regarding them. This is followed (vers. 
18-22) by appeal to what was true of the first covenant, citing 
four (4) particulars, viz., (1.) that it was dedicated with sprink- 
ling blood (ver. 18-20) ; (2.) and (y.a\—oi) that the tabernacle 
and its appurtenances were likewise sprinkled (ver. 21); (3.) 
and (xai) that almost all things are cleansed with blood (ver. 22 a) ; 
(4.) and (xui) the acknowledged truth, that apart from shedding 
of blood there is no remission (ver. 22 b). Following these 
appeals the Apostle represents positively the operation of Christ's 
death as it corresponds, in respect to shedding blood, to those 
necessary uses of blood in connection with the Old Covenant that 
he mentions in his appeals. 

In illustration of the need of Christ's dying in order to His 
being mediator of a new covenant, the first appeal is to common 
usage in respect to testaments. 

Ver. 16. For where a testament [is] there must of necessity be 
death of the testator. 

Regarding the precise meaning of <fipe<Ti9at, which we leave as 
good as not translated at all,^ we may be sure that the literal or 
primary meaning : " be brought " ^ gives no sense. Any one of 
several of the secondary senses of this much-used and well-worn 
word, e.f/., "alleged, implied," ^ answers very well. It is obvious 
that what is meant is, that when a testament is mentioned as 
something in force, it is understood of course that the testator has 
died. We may even suppose that the Author mentally supplies 
the same \erh {(fip—ai) in the first clause of our sentence that he 
uses in the second, instead of the iartv of our translation. The 

' With versions of 1611, 1881. 'ibid, margin. 


312 diai^rjXT}. [ix. 16. 

rendering would then be : " where a testament is mentioned ^ or 
adduced, there must necessarily be mentioned the death of the 
testator." As for the meaning of dta>'^rjxrj, it is useless to try ^ to 
give it here any other sense than testament, or last will.^ We 
must, as well as we can, account for the sudden use of the word 
in this sense, introduced without preface, and that in a context 
(vers. 15, 19, 20), that uses it chiefly in the sense of covenant. 

'^ The charge brought against the writer on account of his 
transition of meaning in Siai'/Tjxrj is without ground. He is think- 
ing in Greek [and writing to those that do the same.] In Greek 
dia^rjxTj has these two meanings ; not divided oiF from one another 
by any such line of demarcation as when expressed by two sepa- 
rate words, but both lying under one and the same word. What 
more common, or more ordinarily accepted, than to educe out of 
some one word its various shades of meaning, and argue on each 
separately as regards the matter in hand ? Take the very word 
' Testament ' as an example. In our common parlance it now 
means a ' book ; ' the * Old Testament,' the book of the former 
covenant, the ' New Testament,' the book of the latter. But we 
do not therefore sink the other and deeper meaning ; nay, we 
rather insist on it, that it may not become lost in that other and 
more familiar one. I cannot see how the Writer's method of 
procedure here differs essentially from this." * 

Beside this justification in the word itself, a natural suggestion 
for the present appeal (to what is true in regard to a testament) 
appears, as has been said above, in the mention of " the eternal 
inheritance," (ver. 15). And it must be remembered, moreover, 
in this connection that,* the word " covenant," when used as the 
name for that which determines the relations between God and 
men, has a sense that differs from its ordinary meaning. That 
common meaning is " an agreement between two or more per- 
sons," implying that both parties are active in giving form to 
what is agreed on. In God's covenants this has no place. He 
alone determines the relations, though two are parties to what is 

^ Compare Passow, Lex., suh. voce, B. 2, a. * As von Hof., Ebrard, etc. 

' G)mp. Alford, Del., Davidson, etc. 

* Alford on ver. 20 ; comp. Farrar. ' See on viii. 12. 



determined. This makes the covenant very near the same thing 
as a testament.^ When to this is added, that the chief blessings 
of God's covenant are future, and that they are appropriately 
named an inheritance,^ we have, in the religious use of dia^xT^, 
a word that admits of such a transition from one sense of it to 
another as the Apostle here makes, and that, too, as here, without 
other preparation or preface, than appears in the mention of 
" the eternal inheritance." In English it would need no more 
preface than : " take e. g., the case of a testament." 

All that is required in the present case is, that we see some 
obvious reason for such an appeal to what is true in regard to 
a testament. Chrysostom says : " It was likely that many 
weakly-disposed persons disbelieved in the promises of Christ, 
just because Christ had died. Paul, then, abundantly confutes 
this sentiment by instancing this example taken from common 
custom. For this very reason, he says, we must be assured. 
Because, not while testators live, but when they are dead, 
then testaments are steadfast and obtain force." ^ Though this 
is reading between the lines, we are encouraged to concur in this 
conjecture, because we know from other sources that such was 
precisely the common difficulty of the Jewish mind about a dead 
Messiah. The two disciples going to Emmaus were representa- 
tive of all, when they said : " "We hoped that it was he which 
should redeem Israel." The death of an agent seemed to put an 
end to his purpose. And the reply of Jesus : " Behooved it not 
the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into his glory"* is 
the text for all Apostolic replies to the apprehension.* It is the 
text of our ix. 16-28. Paul declares of the Jews that the preach- 
ing of Christ crucified was to them a stumbling block as it was 
to the Greeks foolishness ; ^ which means that it w:is always as 
much the one as the other. It was, thus, something inevitably 
to be encountered in the presentation of such matter as this 
epistle offers, seeing it was written to Jews. Thus the conjecture 
of Chrysostom is most reasonable. 

1 Comp. Alford. * Comp. Del. 

' So also von Ilof. * Luke xxiv. 21, 26. 

* Comp. Heb. i. 3 ; Acts iii. 17, 18, 21. « 1 Cor. i. 23. 


This explanation of the present language of the Apostle is 
further recommended when we consider what is precisely the 
scope of it. For this we must take the following verse which 
completes the thought. 

Ver. 17. (For a testament is steadfast in the case of the dead), 
since does it ever avail when the testator lives ? 

In this verse the first clause is parenthetical.^ It affirms, as 
something well understood, what is true of a testament in gen- 
eral.^ Hence the plural vsxpai'i.^ This prepares for the affirma- 
tion that follows, which, as self-evidential, is stated interrogatively, 
and which connects with ver. 16. For the second clause is in- 
terrogative, and also in harmony with the Author's style.* Thus 
the Apostle's forcible representation is : For where a testament 
is adduced there is adduced of necessity the death of the testator ; 
since how does the testament ever avail when he lives ? When 
we ask : what is proved by this appeal to the case of testaments ? 
we detect nothing that bears any likeness or relation to the blood 
sprinkling on which vers. 18 sqq. proceeds to discourse. What 
is proved is that death may he the very means hy which the pur- 
pose of an agent is made effective. The occasion for such proof 
would be the apprehension of some, that the death of an agent 
put an end to his purpose ; and so the Apostle's readers might 
think concerning the death of Christ, which he has just repre- 
sented as having such an important relation to his being mediator 
of a new covenant. We suppose, therefore, that the Apostle in 
our verses 16, 17 speaks " man-fashion,"^ meeting, as Chrysos- 
tom conjectures, an unexpressed objection that must, in such 
readers as his, meet him on the very threshold of his subject 
when he proposes to represent the relation of the dying of Christ 
to his being mediator of a new covenant. Before showing posi- 
tively the import of this, he negatively, and in general, shows that 

* Against Liin., where see cited writers in favor. 

^ von Hof. ' Against Alford. 

*So Bengel, von Hof., etc., vers. 1881; comp. chap. i. 5, 13, 14; ii. 3; iii. 
16-14 ; ix. 14, against Winer, Gram, p. 480, who objects that it is too rhetorical 
for the style ; comp. Davidson. 

^ Gal. iii. 15 Kard av^punov. 


his dying does not ipso facto nullify his efficient agency, but may 
be the very means of giving it effect. 

It may be observed to the advantage of -the view just pre- 
sented of vers. 16, 17, that it entirely obviates some perplexing 
inquiries. Such an inquiry is : How can the saving work of 
Christ be compared to a testament ? Another is : Seeing it is God 
that makes the covenant (viii. 8 sqq.), in what sense may it be 
said, even when taking dtaUrjxrj in the sense of " testament," that 
the testator must die to give it effect ? On this follows the infer- 
ence that, in this representation, Christ is regarded as making 
the testament,^ i. e., the covenant. But this again raises the 
question : How does that consist with the previous representation 
that God makes the covenant, and that Christ is the mediator of 
the covenant ? Again : what likeness is there between the efficacy 
of Christ's death, as heretofore represented, and still more 
pointedly set forth ver. 18 sqq., and the effect of a death that 
leaves a testament in force ?^ The view of vers. 16, 17 presented 
above makes all such questions gratuitous, because entirely irrel- 
evant, there being nothing to require their consideration, and 
barely enough to suggest them. 

Having met an objection by the representation of vers. 16, 17, 
the Apostle proceeds in close connection with the chief thought 
of ver. 15, viz., that on account of his dying Christ is mediator 
of a new covenant. 

Ver. 18. Whence neither has the first [covenant] been dedi- 
cated without blood. 

The o''/£v = whence refers back to ver. 15;' as at ii. 17, there 
is a similar reference back beyond a verse (16) that introduces a 
collateral thought like that of our vers. 16, 17. The Apostle 
still appeals to the records of the Pentateuch, and to tlie institu- 
tions of Israel in their most original form. He is, in fact, about 
to give again some of "the first principles" relating to his toj)ic 
as he has done twice before.* And we may add, that the seem- 
ing discrepancies that call for some attention here, may be com- 
pared to those we have noticed with reference to what the Author 

' Riehm p. 595. ' Comp. Del., Calvin. 

* Against Alford and the most. *Comp. vii. 1-3; viii. 1-3. 


has represented of Melchizedek and of the high priests. In all 
these references to original institutions, the Author instances some 
obvious things not expressly included in the Mosaic documents. 

In our verse the Apostle resumes the consideration of the new 
covenant. It is : covenant/ and not : " testament," ^ that must 
be supplied to the word ^ 7r/)o> -55 = the first. This is obvious 
from the recurrence to the antitheses of "new"(ver. 15) and 
the first distinguishing the notion dia^x-q, with which viii. 7-13 
has made us familiar. In the verb iyxatvi'^u) = to dedicate, " in- 
augurate," we have an additional reason for referring the 
o^%v back to ver 15. For did it relate to vers. 16, 17 as a notion 
preparing for the present statement, it would imply that the death 
that leaves the way free for a testament to have force may, in 
some sense, be considered as dedicating or inaugurating the testa- 
ment ; a notion which is meaningless. The appeal is now to 
another and distinct transaction. The Apostle writes : has been 
dedicated, the perfect, because here, as in similar cases,^ he does 
not mean the transaction in its historical connection, but as it is 
recorded in the Scripture that is present to his mind,* or as an 
institution that, from the view-point of his readers is of present 

The reference in vers. 19, 20 is to the great covenant sacrifice 
of Exod. xiv., which followed immediately the promulgation of 
the Sinaitic code of laws (Exod. xix-xxiii), then first committed 
to writing in the " book of the covenant." ® In ver. 21, the ref- 
erence is to other similar transactions ^ occurring later when the 
Tabernacle was constructed. What is specified is only by way 
of example, by w^hich examples the Apostle would call to mind 
a great variety of things that, according to law, were treated in 
that particular manner he is considering. Thus he says : 

Ver. 19. For when every commandment had been spoken ac- 
cording to law by Moses to all the people, taking the blood of the 
calves and goats with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, he 
sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20. saying : This 
is the blood of the covenant which God commanded in regard to 

» Davidson. ' Alford. ^ ^^ q^ 9 . ^;;j 13 « ^^n Hof. 

^ Alford. ^ Del. ' On the naX 6e comp. Del. 


you. 21. And moreover the tabernacle and all the vessels of the 
ministry he sprinkled in like manner with the blood. [A nd he add.s 
in a suinniaiy way :] ver. 22. And almost all things are cleansed 
with blood, according to the law ; and apart from shedding of blood 
there is no remission. 

What is specified ver. 21 "refers probably to the same anoint- 
ing of ,the Tabernacle and its furniture as that mentioned Lev. 
viii. 10 as that accompanying the consecration of Aaron and his 
sous. Aaron's consecration is enjoined Exod. xxix, and accom- 
plished Lev. viii. The anointing of the sanctuary is enjoined 
Exod. xl., and the most suitable time for the fulfillment of such 
injunction would be where we think we find it at Lev. viii. 10." * 

In consulting the Mosaic records, four seeming discrepancies 
as to facts are observed, (1) Our Author says goats and calves 
where Exodus mentions only calves. (2) Our Author says : 
with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, of which there is no 
mention at all in Exodus. (3) Our Author says : sprinkled the 
book, of which there is no mention in Exodus. (4) Our Autlior 
speaks of sprinkling the Tabernacle and all the vessels of the 
ministry with blood ; Exod. xl. 9, speaks only of " anointing with 
oil." For the discussion of these discrepancies we may refer to 
Delitzsch in loco ^ and adopt his results as fully justified. In refer- 
ence to (1) he says : " I prefer to assume that calves and goats is 
used by our Author as a general term for all bloody sacrifices." 
von Hofmann says the same, adding : " The expression says, as 
does also x. 4, nothing more than that it was blood of beasts that 
was so applied." 

In reference to (2) and (3) he says : " These additions to the 
Mosaic narrative, whetlier derived from tradition or conjecture, 
were natural and obvious." In reference to (4) lie urges, tJiat, 
beside the probability of it from analogy " we have here, in fact, 
a literal agreement between Josej)hus and tlie writer of this epistle 
in reference to the same transactions." Delitzsch sums up : ""We 
are justified in concluding that, when our Author goes beyond 
the letter of the Torah, botli in describing the covenant sacrifices 
and the consecration of the Tabernacle and its furniture, he fol- 

' Del. » Also von Ilof. 

318 REMISSION MUST BE BY BLOOD. [ix. 19-22. 

lows a then existing tradition of which other traces are now lost. 
The main point with him is evidently this : that in both cases 
(the earthly copies and the heavenly realities) the dedication did 
not take place without the employment of sacrificial blood." 

We may, then, assume the correctness of the Apostle's state- 
ments and disregard the disposition of some to make difficulties. 
He has stated enough for his present purpose, and it is with his 
aim in making this representation that we have to do. The 
essential thing is, that the people that were joined to God by 
covenant to serve Him (compare : " serve the living God," ver. 
14, and "All the words which the Lord hath said will we do," 
Exod. xxiv. 3), and the written instnmient that embodied that 
covenant, and the Tabernacle with all its furniture that was the 
central and only place of worship and service, and the only spot 
where one could approach and enjoy communion with God, all 
were consecrated by blood to be what was required for the rela- 
tions instituted by the first covenant. In the comprehensive 
representations of ver. 22, let it be noted, that the first clause is 
qualified (by gizU-j^ whose force extends only so far), ^ while the 
second is universal. The statements are, (a) that almost every- 
thing was purified by blood and (zat'), (6) wherever there is remis- 
sion it must be by blood shedding. This last (6) expresses the 
fundamental notion that the Apostle would illustrate by the 
appeal to what was true of the first covenant. As he thus con- 
centrates attention on that, it must only diifuse and weaken our 
apprehension of his subject to attempt to gather up the typical 
import of the details that came in for notice.^ The same may be 
said of the observation that, when the Apostle instead of: 
"behold the blood" as in the Hebrew and the LXX., writes: 
this is the blood of the covenant (ver. 20), " it is with conscious or 
unconscious reference to the sacramental words of the holy 
Eucharist" (Matt. xxvi. 28).^ Whether this observation be true 
or not, we can detect no influence that the supposed fact may have 
in the present discourse. 

The representation of vers. 18-22 is in order to show the 

^ With Del., against von Hof., LiJn., Alford. 

2 As, e. g., Del. » Del. 


importance of "death taking place " for the efficiency of tliat new 
covenant that Christ mediates. The apjicals vers. 1 8-22 have force 
as transactions done according^ to law. But, in addition, the matter 
adduced is jjroof became it -was typical. The things that are men- 
tioned as sprinkled with blood were copies of things in heaven, 
and what was done to them according to laio was a copy of what 
was done in reality to the heavenly things. This is assumed, with- 
out precise and direct expression, in the inferences which are pre- 
sented in the following vers. (23-2G). And these inferences 
represent directly and positively the necessity for Christ's dying in 
order to His being mediator of the new covenant. That is, some 
of the positive grounds, viz., such as correspond to matters 
referred to in the foregoing appeals. 

It is an advantage in the foregoing explanation of vers. 18- 
22, that no perplexity is suggested by the Author's use of the 
terms : dedicate, sprinkle, cleanse, shedding blood. We need not 
explain any synonymous signification or relation that they may 
have, or relation of the various statements to one another. The 
notion common to all four references is the use of blood accord- 
ing to law. The references are to distinct things, and their force 
is cumulative, and therefore is apprehended by our regarding 
them separately, as so many items. 

Ver. 23. It [was] necessary, then, for the copies of the things 
in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things 
themselves with better sacrifices than these. 

It does not matter whether we supply "was" or "is" to 
necessary. The two clauses dependent on wmyxrj^ and made anti- 
thetical by ///v and (^i, have necessity predicated of them in the 
same way. Time past or present is unimportant to the notion 
expressed. But English idiom requires the use of a copula, 
where the Greek does not. What is affirmed as necessary is not 
that either the heavenly things or their copies must be cleansed. 
It has been affirmed viii. 3 that Christ must have something to 
offer. It is assumed, as something understood, that such cleans- 
ing takes place. But that being so, it is affirmed that in the case 
of the co])ies it must be with these, while in the case of 
the heavenly things themselves it must be with better sacrifices 


than these. The point of the contrast presented lies especially in 
the fact that the latter must be better. Sacrifice is the means of 
cleansing in either case ; but in the latter it is necessary that the 
means should be better. 

It is not obvious at a glance (a) to what the Apostle refers by 
TuoTot? = these ; (6) nor why he should speak of better sacrifices 
(plural) when Christ's was one sao-ifiee ; (e) nor why he should 
speak at all of cleansing the heavenly things themselves. With 
regard to (a) we are required, on the one hand, by the antithesis 
of the two clauses to understand that sacrifices are meant in both 
instances, with regard to (6), better sacrifices implies sacrifices 
not so good. Agreeably to this, we must find a reference of 
Tourots- to a plural notion in the foregoing context, that may be 
comprehended in the word sacrifices. But this does not require 
us to confine its reference to ver. 22, nor to the previous mention 
of "the blood of calves and goats " (ver. 19). In xiii. 16, the 
Apostle uses " sacrifice " for religious actions that involve no 
shedding of blood.^ He may, then, use the word sacrifices here 
as comprehending both the shedding of blood and especially the 
subsequent actions attending its use, as described vers. 19-22. 
This comprehensive reference explains the tootoc?, in the 
neuter plural and also (6) the mention of sacrifices in the 
plural. This construction does not involve as a consequence 
that we must understand the Apostle to imply the notion, that 
(c) what Christ does in cleansing the heavenly things themselves 
is a continuous and repeated action, as " minister of the true tab- 
ernacle " (viii. 2).^ The inauguration of the first covenant, by 
shedding blood and sprinkling the book and the people, and the 
later sprinkling of the tabernacle and its utensils, were successive 
acts only by a necessity in the copies of the heavenly things ; like 
the necessity of the copy-priests being many, by reason of death 
hindering their continuing (vii. 23). As Christ, one priest for- 
ever, satisfies the relation of antitype to priests that are many by 
reason of death ; so, what Christ did in cleansing the heavenly 
things satisfies the relation of type and antitype, if He does all in 
one transaction of shedding His blood and going to God. 

^ Comp. von Hof. ; and v. 7. * Against von Hof. 


The shedding of blood, and actions cleansing the various things 
by it according to law, constitute the plural notion expressed by 
sacrifices. The copies of the heavenly things expressly mentioned 
in the context are the first covenant represented by the book, the 
people, and the tabernacle and its utensils. We infer that the 
heavenly things themselves involved in the present mention are 
the new covenant, the people of God, the true tabernacle, and its 
belongings ; (the Apostle mentions " an altar " xiii. 1 0). The 
antithesis of: rd i7Z(>updvca='' heavenly things," is rd ^-{yeux^z 
" earthly things," i. c, things on earth :* And the fundamental 
notion of the antithesis is, that heaven where God is, is the source 
whence all concerning God and what God requires of man is 
revealed. When it is revealed it is on earth. What is not 
revealed is yet in heaven with God. " The city of God," is not 
yet revealed, hence it is called " the heavenly Jerusalem." ^ 
When it is to be revealed, it will " come down out of heaven 
from God."^ The heavenly things themselves are part of the 
same notion as " Mount Zion, the city of God," and are called 
heavenly in the sense just expressed. The total of them does 
not make heaven (the aozdv rdv obpavdv of ver. 24) ; but that heaven 
is where they are. " It is idle to attempt the representation 
of this truth in some realistic way. We have a representation in 
xii. 22-24 that may suffice. There we have the church of the 
first born, the spirits of just men made perfect ; the Mediator of 
the new covenant, and the sprinkling, and God the Judge of all. 
The pertinent inquiry here is (c) : why should the Apostle speak 
of cleansing these heavenly things that are with God ? It does 
not relieve the difficulty of the Apostle's words to confine the 
predicate : cleansing to the first clause of our verse, and supply, 
or construe it to mean : " dedicate " in the second.* For, were 
this grammatically possible, the "dedication" (ver. 18) is effected 
by cleansing (ver. 19). Let us notice that the expression : "cleans- 
ing " does not imply previous defilement. For the tabernacle, 
and especially the holy place within the vail,'' was not cleansed 
as a thing that had been defiled, though the people were cleansed 

' Comp. John iii. 12. * xii. 22. ' Rev. xxi. 10. 

* De Wette, Lun. * Lev. xvi. 16. 




in that sense. The place where God would meet sinners (or the 
priests that appeared for sinners), was cleansed by sacrificial blood, 
because sinners were to appear there. There God would own 
them as His people, and they would enjoy His presence and favor. 
The place that was to become the sphere of this relation between 
God and His people, must be prepared by cleansing that would 
obviate the allowance or appearance there of sin, or of men as 
sinners. It is evident that this notion may be applied to the 
heavenly things themselves, without imputing to them any pre- 
vious defilement, or anything that made them less purely holy 
than God Himself. It is not only unnecessary, but in itself 
inadmissible to suppose :* that " the supramundane Holy of holies, 
the eternal, uncreated heaven of God Himself, though in itself 
•untroubled blessedness and light, yet needed cleansing, in so far 
as its light of love had been lost or transmuted for mankind, 
through the presence of sin, or rather had been over-clouded and 
bedarkened by a fire of Avrath." Men that are sinners are to 
approach God, and Christ as High Priest enters the heavenly 
sanctuary on their behalf. The place of that meeting must be 
prepared,^ as the earthly copy was, by the cleansing of sacrifice. 

Ver. 24. For not into a holy place made with hands did Christ 
enter, an antit3rpe of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear 
before the face of God for us. 

The logical relation of the present statement to the foregoing 
verse, expressed by For, is, that it shows there was need for bet- 
ter sacrifices, inasmuch as Christ actually entered where the 
heavenly things themselves are, to do the priest's work for us 
that corresponded to what was done in the earthly Holies. For 
such functions, offering something is essential.^ He did not enter 
a holies made with hands, which would demand no better sacri- 
fices ; He entered heaven itself to appear before the face of God, 
which did demand better. 

It is not necessary to translate S.yi.a = holiest of all, nor to sup- 
pose the Apostle means that, while using the word properly ren- 
dered Holies.* According to the Apostle's own definition, ver. 

' With Del., and Alford. "^ John xiv. 2. 

' Comp. viii. 3. * Comp. on vers. 2, 8, 12. 


2, it means the Holies. It was the earthly Holies made with 
hands that, while it had valid existence, was a parable represents 
ing that the way of the Holies, i. e., the true Holies, was not 
made manifest.* The Apostle calls it an antitype of the true 
Holies, meaning that it is the correlative of the type of the true, 
as that t}'pe was shown to Moses in the mount. That correla- 
tive was executed in materials of handiwork. Into that anti- 
type Christ did not enter. Nor does the Apostle say that He 
entered into the type of the true itself. He says He entered into 
the heaven itself; which corroborates our view at viii. 5, that it 
M^as not the very heaven itself, nor the actual heavenly things 
that Moses saw, but only a representation suitable for copying in 
earthly materials. The heaven itself is where God is, and ince 
versa, where God so is that being there one appears before the 
face of God, that is heaverf itself. Entering the one, Christ 
appeared before the other. There seems to be no reason for 
attaching any difference in meaning to t;j.(fa\'i<T>'>y^ai and offtrjfftrai 
(ver. 28.)^ Both mean : appear, with no pregnant significance.^ 
But to appear for us, expresses a vicarious appearance, and thus 
priestly. And this involves appearing with sacrifice, when the 
appearing is before God. When this appearing is in heaven 
itself, i. €., before the face of God, it is necessary that the sacri- 
fice be corresponding, i. e., better than when one entered the 
earthly Holies. The Apostle says now to appear ; not in antici- 
pation of the words immediately following : " nor yet that he 
should offer himself often," * etc.; and not with reference " to the 
new dispensation in contrast with the typical and shadowy past ;'" 
but in anticipation of the " appearing a second time " (ver 28), 
and in antithesis to that.® As 6<f^(TtTai intimates nothing about 
what Christ will do when he comes again, so the iii^aviaftT^vai 
here expresses nothing as to what Christ does having gone to 
heaven ;^ not even that he continually presents himself to God 
for us.* 

Thus the present verse, connected with the foregoing by For, 

1 ver. 8 2Q)mp. LXX., Ex. xxiii. 17; 1 Sam. i. 22. 

^ Comp. von Hof. * Against Alford. * Against Del. 

6 von Hof. ' von Hof. « Against Del., Alford. 


applies the general statement, that for the heavenly things them- 
selves better sacrifices are necessary, by declaring that Christ has 
entered there with a purpose that demands sacrifice ; His must 
therefore be the better. To this he adds another statement that 
further illustrates how the sacrifice actually is better, as it of 
necessity must be. 

Ver. 25. Nor yet in order that he may offer himself often, as the 
high priest enters into the Holies year by year with other blood 
[than his own]. 

Here it is affirmed, that Christ did not enter heaven in order 
that, while there, as he is, He may offer himself often in the 
fashion indicated in the comparison with the high priest. For 
such is the force of Trpoffcpipr^ in the present. This precludes the 
notion ^ that the Author presents the idea of Christ returning to 
earth often that He may often offer Himself a sacrifice, or often 
enter heav^en to offer Himself in the presence of God. This 
notion is further precluded by the distinction noted at vii. 27, 
between Tzpoatpipzv^, which is used here, and (vja(fip-.vj? Did the 
Apostle mean liere an often offering up of Himself as a sacrifice, 
and what was done on earth, he would use the latter word. By 
using the former he expresses what is done when the sacrifice has 
been made, viz., offering Himself to God, that He may be 
accepted.* As the high priest did this with the blood when he 
entered the Holies, so Christ offered Himself when He entered 
heaven. Thus it is the idea of something, viz., offering Himself, 
ojten done in heaven, where Christ is, that is presented by 
3roA/laz{9 <ppoa<piprj^ This idea is presented to be repudiated, and 
thus to show that Christ actually deals with " better sacrifices " 
than were used for the copies of heavenly things, as ver. 23 
affirmed, was necessary. Let it be noted, too, that the consistent 
meaning we ascertain by this precision in interpretating the lan- 
guage used, corroborates the explanation under ver. 23 of what 
is comprehended by the expression " better sacrifices." We see 
that in the present verse, which illustrates them, the Apostle has 
in view, not the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, but what is done 

^ Of de Wette, Liin. * Comp. on ver. 14. 

' Comp. von Hof. * So von. Hof., Del., Alford. 


in consequence of it where he has appeared in the presence of 
God. As has been said, this is a phiral notion. 

The meaning ascertained by tliis precision serves, moreover, to 
show progress of thought in our passage, as compared with the 
representation of vii. 27. There the Apostle contrasts the one 
act of Christ in sacrificing Himself, with the oft repeated act of 
the high priests as it occurred year by year. Here the contrast 
concerns what Christ does, having made the sacrifices and entered 
heaven, and what the high priest does, having made his sacrifice 
and entered the Holies. The latter enters the Holies with blood 
of another, not his own.^ This is said in contrast with Christ, 
who enters heaven by His own blood offering himself. And here 
again ^ it is needless to translate t« ayia = " Holy of holies," or to 
suppose that the Author means the Holy of holies, when using 
that word here. The high priest entered the Holies with the 
blood before he entered the Holy of holies. Part of what he 
did with the blood was done there. And it is as reasonable to 
mention the entrance into the Holies as including the thought of 
what He did in the Holy of holies, as to mention the latter 
including the thought of what He did in the former. Moreover, 
the account Lev. xvi. 15-19, especially ver. 17, shows, that on the 
day of atonement the whole tent was, for the time, regarded as 
one, and so partook of the sanctity of the holy place within the 

In what is now mentioned, viz., the frequent offering by the 
Levitical high priest of blood of another, in contrast with Christ's 
oifering Himself, to point the necessity of better sacrifices for the 
heavenly things themselves, the Apostle broaches a topic that he 
will amplify further on.^ 

To the repudiated notion of Christ's offering Himself often, 
the Apostle adds a representation that is meant to show its 
impossibility by showing its absurdity. This appears in what 
would be a necessary condition of such repeated offering. 

' The fv- in, with " is not instrumentiil, but elemental ; " he enters furnished 
with, a.s it wore, clad witli " the blood of another" (Alford). This does not 
diflcr from the Aa ai/iarog ver. 12. 

^ Comp. on vers. 2, 8, 12, 34. ' x. 1 sqq. 


Ver. 26 a. Since he must often have suffered from the foun- 
dation of the world. 

The hypothesis of Christ's offering Himself often, as the high 
priest did (which could only be done each time by a fresh sacri- 
fice and that of beasts), demands, that, to this present period of 
His appearing before God {wv kiiipavt.G^\>ai ver. 24), during which 
this offering-often must take place, there must be a foregoing 
period when He had often suffered death. To correspond ade- 
quately, that foregoing period must have extended from the foun- 
dation of the world to when Christ entered heaven to offer 
Himself before God.^ This obvious meaning of the present state- 
ment shows that it has no reference to Christ's sacrifice being 
valid for men in the past ; as though the Apostle dealt with the 
notion that, for such validity, Christ must have suffered in each 
generation of the past in order to save men of each generation.'^ 
The Apostle simply clinches the statement of ver. 25, by another, 
that shows the impossibility of the contrary of that statement. 
He follows this by a comprehensive statement that affirms the 
precise truth concerning Christ's death. 

Ver. 26 h. But now once at the consummation of the ages hath 
he been manifested for abrogation of sin by his sacrifice. 

The vt.v£'= now is logical, not temporal, and means, "as things 
are in fact." At the consummation of the ages resumes the notion 
expressed by : from the foundation of the world ; but does so in 
terms that intimate, as at i. 2, but more clearly, that the appear- 
ance of Christ concludes a period, and begins another to which 
the former tended, and for which the world waited. The Son is 
an epoch-making agent of God (i. 2). It is the period of the 
manifestation of Christ. -Keipa'ApajTm = has been manifested, refers 
to Christ's appearance in the history of the world ; and the per- 
fect expresses it as something that remains. Taken with the 
representation of ver. 28, it characterizes the period till Christ's 
second coming as one manifestation of Himself. Taken with the 
azaf=: once, this idea is expressed with complete precision. The 
purpose (si?) of the manifestation is expressed to be : for the abro- 

» So von Hof., Alford. 
* Against Davidson. 

ix. 26.] RESUME OF IX. 13-28. 327 

gation of sin by Ms sacrifice. His sacrifice ' has an emphasis. 
But not as meaning : "sacrifice of himself," as though we should 
read aoroo. It is an emphasis marking an antithesis between the 
repeated sacrifices referred to ver. 25 and what Christ did. The 
period of His manifestation is opposed to the whole foregoing 
period, and His sacrifice to all that went before. The effect of 
His sacrifice is that it abrogates sin. 

And here we observe that the Apostle s argument forges 
another step in advance. At vers. 13, 14 he represented the effi- 
cacy of Christ's blood to be a deliverance final and everlasting, 
that cleansed the consciences of his readers from dead works, i. g., 
from submission to the imposed ordinances of the flesh (ver. 10). 
Here he gives the efficacy of Christ's sacrifice its fullest expres- 
sion. It abrogates sin itself. In this progress of thought we 
note the recurrence of the method the Author uses at vii. 11-19, 
Here, as there, he uses gentleness, and produces his extreme and 
comprehensive statement by degrees, which here, as there (vii. 
18), is expressed by a<'}irrj<n<;, a word used no where else in the 
New Testament. The present statement sets forth the full effect 
of Christ's work. Taken with the first clause of our verse, it 
expresses that the suffering of Christ, by which is meant His 
death, is a sacrifice : that it is His sacrifice ; that its efficacy in 
relation to Him is commensurate with His manifestation. That 
manifestation is once till He comes again ; the sacrifice is one, and 
for all that period ; which gives again the notion already expressed 
as: "once for all" (ver. 12). If the limited effect of Christ's 
blood that we found to be expressed at vers, 12, 14 seems to any 
a pitiful comprehension of the sense, here at length we have the 
whole grand truth. We think it looses nothing by the gentle 
approach to it. Esj^ecially if we put ourselves in the place of 
readers who were being led on " to full growth," ^ and needed to 
be letl by degrees. 

The Apostle has not finished with the truth of the present 
statement by the mention in this verse. We observe that what 
follows X. 1-18 is amplification of it, and that, in fact, according 
to what we have observed to be his style, he has broached an 

' von Hof., Del., Liin., Alford. '^ vi. 1. 

328 RESUME OF IX. 13-28. ^ [ix. 26. 

additional topic. For this reason, owing to its relation to what 
follows, as well as its relation to what immediately precedes, our 
ver. 26 6 should be made a sentence by itself. The progress of 
thought is difficult to detect, as any one must feel who attempts 
to define the logical relation denoted by ydp — for, x. 1. The pro- 
gress of that appears to be as follows : 

At ver. 15 the Author presents a topic that he has amplified to 
the present. Its chief subject is the dying of Christ as his quali- 
fication for being mediator of a new covenant. This is repre- 
sented in respect to two things : (a) his death for redemption of 
transgressions under the first covenant-; and (6) his, death that 
those called may receive the promise of the everlasting inherit- 
ance. To the present he has dealt with (a), viz., what relates to 
the covenant itself, showing that death is necessary to its validity 
(vers. 16, 17) ; that corresponding to what was true of the first 
covenant, so shedding blood was needed for the second (vers. 18- 
23); adding, or rather weaving into the latter, what shows that Christ 
dealt with better sacrifices, as His covenant and the things concerned 
were better than the first and its things (vers. 24-26). In all this 
he deals with the new covenant and its belongings or matenalia, 
which he calls " the heavenly things themselves." From this he 
proceeds, ver. 27 to show (b), what relation Christ's death has to 
the persons that, are benefitted by the new covenant, whom He 
has designated as " those called," and how it secures to them the 
" promise of the everlasting inheritance." This he does with a 
xai= and, conjoining a statement concerning dying that comes in 
with a tone as if it resumed a topic after having cleared away 
misapprehensions about it. What we now read, may be read in 
close conjunction with ver. 15, if from that verse we leave out : 
" for redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant. 

It corroborates this view of the progress of thought in our 
context, to compare vii. 11-25,' where we noticed that the super- 
iority of the Melchizedek priest to the Levitical priests is first 
set forth negatively (vii. 11-19), and then positively (vii. 20-25). 
And there, too, we observed, in ver. 19, a statement that relates 
both to what goes before and to what follows. Moreover, we 

* See after vii. 19. 

ix. 27, 28.] MEN DIE AND THEN JUDGMENT. 329 

notice now, that the additional (positive) matter is conjoined there, 
as the transition is made here, by a xa\ v.ab" oaov. 

Having shown, then, the need of Christ's death in respect to 
His being mediator of a new covenant, and that He needed not 
to suifer often, the Apostle has declared that " Christ appeared 
once for abolishing sin by His sacrifice." By this comprehen- 
sive statement he both concludes the foregoing argument concern- 
ing the need of Christ's dying in respect to the covenant and its 
belongings, declaring that He died once (which as stated = " once 
for all ") and he presents the topic of Christ's dying with respect 
to sins themselves. In other words, he comes back to the o-w^ 
^avdrou ysvofiivou = " SO that a death having taken place," ver. 15, 
with the ground cleared in respect to " deliverance from trans- 
gressions under the first covenant," and is ready to interpret the 
effect of that death with reference to " them that are called," 
viz., that thereby they "receive the promise of the everlasting 
inheritance." This is effected by the "abrogation of sins." 

Returning, thus, to the ihr^drou yv^oii., he restates the topic in 
terms that resume the ground gained, and that also introduce 
another argument showing that Christ must die, and that His 
dying must be once. Thus far the logical connection pointed 
by Chrysostom is just, though too limited, when he comments : 
" Having shown that it was not necessary for Him to die often, 
he now shows that it was necessary for Him to die once." 

Ver. 27. And inasmuch as it is appointed unto men once to die, 
and after that judgment, 28. So also Christ, having been once offered 
to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time without sin to 
them that wait for him, for salvation. 

The chief thought of this rc])resentation must be found in the 
parallel that is expressed. Both likeness and difference appear in 
the parallel. The likeness is first. It is appointed unto men to 
die once, and then, as the next historical event for them, follows 
judgment. Time, and thus histor\-, wliich involves change, has 
nothing to do with what comes between. The judgment will be 
according to the life as it was when death cut it short. Brief as 
the .statement is, it most completely excludes every idea of any- 
thing occurring between death and judgment that can change or 

330 CHRIST DIED ONCE FOB SIX, [k. 27, 28. 

modify the destiny of men, as determined by what they were 
previous to death. Neither anything that they shall be or do 
between death and judgment affects their case ; nor will anything 
be done for them by another, i. e., Christ. The latter notion is 
effectually excluded by what is said of Christ in the present par- 
alleL The present Ls a convincing proof text against all doctrines 
and dreams of Restorationists. It is the more couNincing, in 
that the truth in these respects is here expressed incidentally and 
not directly. The likeness in the case of Christ, is that He once 
died, here expressed by : was offered to bear sins ; and then for 
Him the next historical event will be His reappearing for salva- 
tion. The difference is that necessary one between men who are 
sinners, and the suiless Redeemer. Tliis makes the difference, 
that for the former is reserved death and then judgment 'Aruz-i- 
rai = '•' laid by, reserved," and thus= " appointed," and thus the 
certain prospect. Judgment is meant here in an imfavorable 
sense,^ owing to its mention in a connection that speaks of sins 
and salvation, in the Redeemer the difference appears in that 
death is in His case, not something reserved or laid up for Him 
as His due, but is an offering of him for sins ; and the next event 
in history for Him is that He will appear for salvation of many, 
which salvation has its relation to the judgment mentioned, in 
that Christ will then accomplish for those saved their eternal 
inheritance, which they now have in promise. 

In r^ard to : having been offered to bear sins, we may pause 
to notice the consistency of the use of -o'Xjcioi'., here in the pas- 
sive ^vith what was noted under vii. 27, and ver. 25.^ This we 
will do in the words of von Hofinann, to whom we owed the 
obser\'ation. The quotation will give also the explanation of 
dvac'cO£:> as used here. 

" Two words are chosen here intentionally that are only dis- 
tinguished by their prepositions. B<jth words are used of sacri- 
fice. But d>ac'cO£:> d;iap-:iai is SOmetlling different from a„acipt'.-^ 

»5u<7£ac, and without doubt the Apostle has in mind Isa. liii. 12, 

where J^?*^ D"3"'.-*<pn is translated by aij.ap-iaq tzoXXw^ a>rj\>s-pcz. 

Neither there nor in general does ayacipt-.-^ mean to ' bear away,' 

' Against Alford, DeL, etc ' Against Alford. 

ix. 27, 28.] Ills SECOis^D coming for salvation. 331 

or * get rid of;' nor does it hcre;^ but in both places it is 
related to <fii)sv^ not differently from what u-^u,'ia(Trd^zr^ is related 
to fiuard^sf^. AVitli the notion of bearing is conjoined the repre- 
sentation that the one bearing has what He bears above, on Him- 
self. To bear the sin of another,^ however, means to suifer as 
evil what he has sinned instead of the evil in which it is pun- 
ished falling ou himself. In this sense was Christ to bear the 
sins of many, thus to atone for them.^ In Trpoa^ipstv, on the 
other hand, <pipsiv is a bringing, as it is in wm<fif)zi,>y when it is 
used of sacrifice. The same, of whom a -poaipipsi^ Iuutuv has just 
been expressed, is now said r^poaeve'^f^sl^} It has been supposed 
that the interchange of napidcuxsv iaurov and TrapsdoSrj may not be 
compared with this, because it is God to whom he is offered.^ 
But when we read Rom. viii. 32 : rou idtou ulou oux i<pe{(Tazo^ d)J.a 

unkp Tjiiiuv TzdvTujv zapidiuxsv aijTov^ SO izapidioxzv IS meant jUSt as, 
Eph. V. 2, it is said of Christ -apiSwxev iaurdv UTzkp Tjiioiv Tzposipopav 
xai f^oaiav ; the expression is borrowed from Abraham's sacrifice 
of his son. Thus there is no need of thinking^ of Christ being 
a victim of the violence of men and devils, instead of, as correla- 
tive of the d-ofia'^sTv, what befell Him for God's sake ;^ and 
moreover, the aim expressed after -potrevs^fysi^ forbids it. On the 
other hand, the statement of the aim does not constrain us to 
understand zpixrtplpsiv of the sending of Christ into the world.^ 
As at xi, 17, it is said of Abraham -potr^'jrjvo^v^ rov '/<tm«'z, so here 
by -potTv^^y/^si'i is named that which befell Christ to the effect that 
He had to bear the sins of many. He was brought there where 
He should become His who had ordained Him to be an atoning 
sacrifice for sins. The beginning of His T:po<;<pip£<Tf'>ai, however, 
preceded His d'Mi<fipzi\> diiapria<;. When God surrendered Him 
to the suffering that brought Him through death to God, our 
sins came to rest ou Him in the form of the suffering wherewith 
He atoned for them. In antithesis to this, it is said of His com- 
ing again, that He will then appear without sin. Obviously, 
this cannot mean : ' without finding; sin in existence." Belony;- 

' Against Liin. * Comp. Num. xiv. 3.3. * Comp. Del. 

* Comp. 1 Cor. v. 7. * So, e. g., Del., Maier, [Alford]. « As Del. 

^ As Del. * Against Kurtz. ' Bleek. 

332 EXTENT OF CHEIST's ATONEMENT. [ix. 27, 28. 

ing to off^yjfftrai, it can only declare some thing of Himself. 
Neither can it mean that no sin shall dwell in Him, since the 
antithesis is not that the first time He was sinful, but that He 
had to bear the sins of others. In this antithesis, and in this 
only, and not when avafifist'^ is rendered ' to take away,' is with- 
out sin denial of such a burdening with sin as there took place 
where He atoned for guilt that others had contracted. With the 
once, when He was offered for this purpose, it was done. When 
He appears again, it will be to help out of all evil those that, in 
believing hope, expect Him." 

When the Apostle says Christ was offered for the sins of many, 
we are not permitted to understand Him to mean many in con- 
trast with a few,^ nor that many is said for all, and as antithesis 
to one.^ We have not the notion presented of Christ dying as 
one for many, but of Christ dying once for many. In an anti- 
thetical parallel that, on the one hand, represents men universally 
as having death in prospect and, on the other, Christ atoning for 
the sins of many, the nearest inference is that it is not intended 
to say that He atoned for all.^ Such is the interpretation of 
Chrysostom.* It corroborates this view, that the Apostle imme- 
diately adds, that when Christ will appear for salvation, it will 
be to those expecting him. It were as reasonable to say that this 
latter expression " is the qualitative designation of 7:«vrwv " ^ as to 
say that -oXlwv is. In entire consistency with Himself, when 
He says: "in bringing many sons to glory;® God made Christ 
perfect through suffering, and He became the author of salvation 
to them that obey Him / he says here : Christ was offered to 
bear the sins of many, and will, when He comes again, save those 
expecting Him. In so expressing himself, it is evident that the 
Apostle contemplates the atonement of Christ as meant for those 
who actually, and as the event will show, will benefit by it. And 
this is perfectly consistent with what we have observed to be 
his way of contemplating the promise of salvation and obtaining 

' As Del., Alford. ^ As Calvin who compares Eom. v. 15 ; Del., Alford. 

^ Comp. ii. 10. 

* See in Alford the same view quoted as of Oec, Thl., and Thdrt. 

5 Alford. «ii. 10. ^v. 9. 


it by faitli.^ We that believed enter iuto the promised rest.^ 
But whether we are those that believed unto salvation, or are 
such as turn back to perdition,^ shall appear by our persevering. 
As the Apostle expresses it : " We are companions of Christ if 
we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm to the end." * 

The Apostle proceeds in the exposition of his subject in a 
close connection of thought, to which the division of chapters 
does injustice. Though the coherence of what follows with what 
we have just considered is plain enough, it is difficult to detect 
the exact logical relation denoted by : for, ver. 1 . But, by ref- 
erence to the progress of thought in ix. 15-28, as presented above 
before ver. 27, it appears that great prominence has been given 
to the truth that (ver. 14) : '' by one offering, Christ perfected 
forever;" and with that has appeared (ix. 25) in contrast the 
frequent oflPerings of the Levitical high priest on the yearly 
recurrence of the day of atonement. Without affirming it, the 
truth has been implied, that what is so emphatically declared of 
Christ's sacrifice, is not true of those legal sacrifices. With this 
notion the For of ver 1, seems to connect, bringing in the reason. 
First the fact is affirmed, and then, as von Hofmann says we may 
expect, the fact is explained from the notion of the law and its 

X. 1. For the law having a shadow of the good things to come, 
not the very image of the things, can never, year by year with the 
same sacrifices which they [viz., those approaching] offer forever, 
perfect those approaching. 

Wc adhere in this translation to the Received text, as respects 
(Jnvazat with Tisch., von Hof., Del., Al ford, etc. ; against W. and 
H., and the Revision of 1881. 

It is the law that is here introduced for special remark, and, 
in antithesis to it, the good things to come. It should \)e noted 
and borne in mind, that it is not the Levitical high ])riost, and 
not in antithesis to the Saviour. By the good things to come the 
Apostle means the same as at ix. 11, where he calls Christ the 
High Priest of those things. Hero, as there, they are designated 
as future with reference to the law, and not to the Apostle and 

' See above after vi. 8. ' iv. 3. ' x. 39. * iii. 14, comp. iii. 6. 

334 THE LAW A SHADOW, [x. 1 

his readers. What is directly affirmed of the law is, that it 
cannot make perfect. For the law is subject in this sentence, and 
dwarai rshiwaai is predicate. But the subject, the law, is quali- 
fied by a participial appositional clause that justifies what is 
predicated of it ; and with the predicate is joined a clause defin- 
ing the means relating to what is predicated ; and the predicate 
itself is qualified in a certain way (year by year . . . never). All 
these demand scrutiny ; and it must be very careful, seeing that, 
in every one of these particulars, expositors have differed in 

Bearing in mind that the law is the subject, and that the 
antithesis is not Christ, but the good things to come, i. e., that 
have come, of which Christ has been declared to be the High 
Priest, we have it affirmed that the law has a shadow of the lat- 
ter, and the precise meaning of this is further defined by the 
negative, not the image. The metaphor here is simply that of an 
image, {e. g., a statue, which is the reality of the thing itself,) and 
the shadow it casts ;^ not an image or faithful representation 
(c£x(oy) and a sketch or outline (n/.ui) of that.^ Thus rwv izfxxy- 
lidrco'j — of the things, is the genitive of apposition to afjrijv r. eixwi-a, 
or the genitive of the substance,^ and thereby are meant the good 
things to come. Remembering, as we ascertained at ix. 11 sqq., 
that the good things to come are what Christ obtaiued and the 
means whereby he obtained them, our present verse affirms, that 
the law has a shadow of them. This means that there is like- 
ness, but not the thing itself. Added participially to the subject, 
it qualifies the latter so as to prepare for what is predicated of it, 
and so brings in a proof, drawn from the nature of the law, of 
what is predicated. And this is one reason why it cannot do 
what is desired of it. A second reason is, " that the law must 
bring about that Avhich it is declared it is unable to do, xar 

hiaurv'^ ral^ aoTol^ j^txri'at? al? -pontfipotjavj ; by which, howevCr, 

it cannot be brought about. It is usual to connect bnaorw t. 

i^uffiacg as if it said r. ao-alq xar b^iaorbv I'^utriaiq, and to refer d<i 

TO 3irf^£xi<; to al'^ TrpofTfipouffiv. The latter is absolutely impossi- 

^ So Del., von Hof., Alford, etc. * Liin., etc. 

^ Ebrard, Del., von Hof. 


ble.^ For eiv ro (JjiViz^s- does not mean 'continuously ' or ' unceas- 
ingly ' or ' ever and again/ ^ but, as the expression itself 
demands, and its use elsewhere shows,^ forever. When used 
with a transitive verb, the meaning can only be, that the action 
brings the object into a state in which it thereafter remains for- 
ever. Connected, then, wath 7:<>i)(T<fi/)sr^ ffu(jia^, it would say that 
the sacrifices once offered never again cease to be offered, and not, 
as it is rendered in the sense of dul Travr^v, that they are ever and 
again offered. It is objected, that al^ -ii<)(T(fip(tu(7v^ without d<; r. 
Stri^sxi^ is without meaning. But such is only the case when xar 
iviauru'^ is joined in one with rats' adrai^ ''/uffuhi (in a fashion sup- 
ported by no comparable example), and thus are understood sac- 
rifices that are every year the same, instead of letting the roi^ 
aijTal^ have its proper connection with the following relative pro- 
noun. By this it is left unexplained why the relative clause has 
a plural subject, while the subject of the principal sentence is 
i/«//«9. If, as has been assumed, the high priests are the subject of 
7:pn(T<pipoo(Tiv, why are they not named. It is the more necessary 
to name them, seeing that the principal sentence has a plural 
object in rohq Tr/jo^Ti/jj^o/z^Koo? that one might suppose is the sub- 
ject o^ -p<)<j(fi[)ou<nv. It is said, indeed, that this would be con- 
trary to the terminology of the epistle, for ol T,po<npyii<i.vMn are the 
people, whereas, our epistle, without exception, uses -poaifiptv^ 
of the priestly offering. But the objection has no force. It 
would only then have force if the Apostle used a different 
expression for the sacrificing of the members of the congrega- 
tion. But if the epistle elsewhere makes mention only of the 
sacrificing of the priests, so, the fact that it called that -piKnfiptvj^ 
is no proof that thus the expression is limited to ])riestly sacri- 
fice ; an expression elsewhere used of all sacrifices without dis- 
tinction.* And if tlq TO dirjvexig does not connect with «!«• rr/xxr- 
(fipoufftv, and TaFf t'/utrtaiii does connect with the following relative 

' See below aprainst this. 

* Against Rleek, de AVotto, Ebrard, Del., Kurtz, etc. 
'Comp. vii. 3; x. 12, 14, and the examples in Del. 

*Comp. 6. ^7. Matt. v. 23; viii. 4 ; Mark i. 44 ; Luke v. 14; Acts vii. 42; 
LXX., Lev. i. 2; ii. 1; iv. 23. 


pronoun, then -pixrfipouaiv cannot here be understood of priestly 
or rather high-priestly sacrificing, but must be understood to 
mean the sacrificing of the TzpixTzir^oixv^ot, of those drawing nigh 
to God, of those coining to God. The Apostle, then, distinguishes 
what the law does and what the individual does. The law goes 
in action when it ordains sacrifices, which are 'ex officio ' to be 
brought regularly in the name of the people ; on the other hand 
it is the affair of the individual to bring sacrifices when the need 
or occasion arises so to do. But the sacrifices are in both 
instances the same, sacrifices of beasts ; and hence the law, with 
its sacrifices which come every year, can never in perpetuity 
make perfect those that go to God in prayer, never at all, in per- 
petuity so restore them that nothing shall lack to them for their 
relation to God. In this a second thing is named that makes the 
law impotent to make perfect forever them that approach God, 
viz., its sacrifices are year by year with the same sacrifices which 
they (the comers themselves) oflfer. Not because they are always 
the same sacrifices that are brought year by year on the day of 
atonement is the law thus impotent ; but because what it does 
year by year, it does with the same offerings that the people 
individually bring on their own account. Some have correctly 
joined year by year to the verb, but then construed the thought 
thus : the law documents every year its impotence ever to make 
perfect, by this, viz., that, notwithstanding the many sacrifices 
brought all through the year, it always brings the same total of 
atoning sacrifices.^ But this construction of ra?? adrai^ has noth- 
ing to do with the many sacrifices brought through the whole 
year ; and the words do not say that the law proves its impotence 
annually ; but that by what it does annually it is never able to 
do for those approaching what they need. On the one hand, its 
nature, and on the other the nature of its yearly sacrifices, viz., 
that they are not different from the sacrifices of the individual 
members of the congregation, make its incompetency in this 
respect. That is, the perfecting which the law should effect, must 
(if the yearly atonement could do that, which is denied) be an 
abiding effect, which would only be renewed annually. But 

1 So Ebrard, Del. 


nothing of the kind comes about. For did it come about, then, 
because the general atonement of the law effected so much, the 
offering of those sacrifices which the annual atoning sacrifices 
resembled, would have ceased, because those serving God, once 
cleansed in conscience, would no longer have consciences accusing 
them of sin. For such, if we have correctly understood ver. 1, 
is the significance of the interrogative sentence : 

Ver. 2. Else would not they have ceased to be offered, on 
account of the worshippers having no more conscience of sins, hav- 
ing- been once cleansed ? 

" The AjDostle, according to the foregoing construction, can 
only mean, that the sacrificing of the individual members of the 
congregation would cease to be offered. And only this might 
have ceased, not the high-priestly sacrificing of the annual day of 
atonement, that the law ordained ; whose continuance or ceasing 
did not depend on individuals. Moreover, as the persons sacri- 
ficing are designated by Xarpsuovra'i (more properly renderd those 
serving, comp. above on viii. 5 ; and ix. 9, 14), we must under- 
stand the sacrificing to be that of the individuals, and not of the 
high priests. The objection that the sin-offerings of individuals 
were not left to their discretion, but were demanded by law,^ is 
only amazing. Of course, whoever was conscious of being guilty 
of sin should bring a sin-offering ; but whether he would bring 
it rested with him. And if his consciousness of himself and of his 
relation to God was no consciousness of sin, no guilty conscience,* 
he could not be in a case either to be willing or to be able to 
bring a sin-offering. On the contrary, the command that 
ordained the day of atonement and its sacrifice remained in force. 
The objection that, in the case supposed, the law would have 
ordained only a single celebration of the day, and not the annual 
repetition of it,' avails nothing, seeing that what is spoken of is, 
not * de legeferenda,^ but ' de lege lataJ Moreover the execution 
of that command was by no means superfluous ; it would have 
ever again effected the atonement of the congregation and cleans- 
ing of the consciences of the members of the congregation, by 
virtue of which there would have been no need of sin-offerings 

' So Del., Kurtz. * Comp. Kiehm, p. 566. ' So Kurtz. 



by individuals. Were it the meaning of the Apostle that the 
annual atoning sacrifices of the high priest would have ceased 
had they been able to cleanse the consciences of the individuals 
from sin ; one must ask : how does he mean this ? For the 
cleansing would, any way, only avail for those that for the time 
being constituted the congregation, and only for the sins so far 
committed. For the assertion that the Apostle assumes that the 
sacrifices that blot out sin-guilt would also have imparted the 
power henceforth to do the will of God,^ avails nothing against 
this objection. The Apostle speaks of no other effect of the 
annual atoning sacrifices than what cleanses the conscience from 
the consciousness of sin-guilt. Did they have this effect, then the 
individuals would have had no more need to bring sin-offerings 
for themselves. For any further sinning on their part would be 
made good by the next annual atonement of the congregation. 
On the contrary, why there would be no need of the latter is not 
discernible.^ Moreover, the Apostle does not say : that with one 
high-priestly atoning sacrifice the law is impotent to make perfect 
forever the members of the congregation ; but that even year by 
year it can never do this ; thus the annual observance of the law 
ordaining the day of atonement has never the effect on the indi- 
viduals, that they stand forever in a perfect relation to God. 
" To this answers the antithesis : 

Ver. 3. But in those [sacrifices] there is remembrance made of 
sins year by year. 

" But it is by no means a matter of indifference whether one 
takes this as the antithesis of ' on account of the [ones] serving 
having no more conscience of sins,' ^ or of : 'is never able to per- 
fect forever those approaching.' * In the first case it is denied 
that those under the law serving God have no more a conscious- 
ness of guilt ; and to this the affirmative sentence, that by those 
sacrifices there is made a remembrance of sins, does not corres- 
pond. For it does not say how it actually stands with those 
individuals ; but what is the case regarding those annual sacri- 
ficial actions of which ver. 1 has said what the law is impotent 

* So Eiehm. ' Against Del. 

' So, e. g. Bleek, Liin., Del., Maier. * So, e. g. Kurtz. 


to accomplish by them. Thus aXXd = But, stands in antithesis to 
the negative sentence, from which it is separated by the inter- 
vening ver. 2 ; and to the ' year by year,' with which the predi- 
cate of that sentence begins, corresponds the likewise accented : 
year by year at the end of ver. 3. Some inaptly render h mnatq 
avdiv^r^d'.i; dimpTiU)-^ '. 'remembrance of sins lies in them.' ^ Joined 
with a substantive denoting action, eV nvt designates something 
in and by which such action takes place. The remembrance of 
sin does not lie in the sacrifices, but takes place in and by them ; 
in that they are brought it takes place. It is, furthermore, 
erroneous to say ^ that : by those refers to the annual sacrifice. 
For then year by year would be redundant. It appears, thus, 
that by the expression : * with the same sacrifices which they 
offer,' was not meant the annual atoning sacrifices as such, but 
the sacrifices as they are the same, both when offered on the 
annual day of atonement by the high priest as commanded, and 
when again and again they are offered by the individuals by 
their own impulse. What happens by them when they are 
offered annually is remembrance of sins ; there is remembrance 
made that sins have been committed. [The Apostle has in mind 
the ' remembering sins no more ' promised in Jeremiah, as quoted 
viii. 12, as appears by repeating the words below ver. 17. — Tr.] 
For that blood of bulls and goats takes away sins (takes away 
thence, where they lie on him that has committed them ; which is 
not atonement of them,^ but is releasing from guilt and conscious- 
ness of guilt, whereas dfttpt'iv diiapria^ said of God denotes for- 
giveness of sins)'' is, as a matter of course, an impossibility. 
Thus the Apostle says : 

Ver. 4. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and g-oats to 
take away sin. 

" And thereby he shows that in ver. 1, a.s the connection there 
by For with the foregoing context gave reason to expect, he 
designated the nature of the annual atoning sacrifice as tliat 
which made it impossible for the law to bring about an abiding 
perfection. . . . Thus we see that the Apostle emphasizes the 

^ So, e. g., Bleek, de Wette, Del., Kurtz. ' As, e. jr., Rieliai, p. 502. 

' Against Del. * As LXX., Ex. xxxiv. 7. 

340 Christ's blood makes perfect. [x. 4. 

nature of the yearly atoning sacrifices so much as the chief thing, 
that in contrast with it he gives effect to the totally different 
nature of Christ's sacrifice, by virtue of which it has brought 
about that which the other was not able to do." ^ 

The foregoing interpretation of our verses, 1-4, which is von 
Hofmann's own, we have given at length in his own words, as 
he expounds it and defends it against objectors, because this 
seems due to him ; and because the interpretation is given in a 
way so complete and satisfactory, wherein it chiefly differs from 
the common view, that it seems impossible to improve it in sub- 
stance. As to form, we fancy the reader will feel that it might 
be produced in expression easier to read. But we have thought 
it expedient to give the extract literally. We are constrained, 
however, to dissent from the construction that joins ££?. t6 dtrjv£xi<i 
=: forever, to rsXscdxrat --perfect. Nor is it essential to the chief 
point of the interpretation just given. Reason for concurring 
in the common construction, which translates : which they offer 
forever, are the following. The natural position of this qualify- 
ing adverbial phrase is afler the verb. The Author (who alone 
uses it in the New Testament), uses this phrase four times (vii. 
3 ; X. 1, 12, 14) ; and in the two instances where there is no 
possible ambiguity about it (vii. 3 ; x. 14), that is its position. 
The presumption, then, is, that in all four instances it qualifies 
the foregoing verb. It will appear to most readers simply inex- 
plicable, or, as von Hofmann says of an objection, " amazing " 
how he can say this construction is impossible here, or that it 
must have the meaning he says it would have. Joined to a 
preterite it may have that force, as we think it does at ver. 12. 
But joined to a present tense that sense is impossible. Joined to 
■Kpoff(pipoofftv, it only farthers the chief point of the above inter- 
pretation, by characterizing the sacrifices of the individuals as 
something they go on offering forever, and thus emphasizes the 
notion brought in by the relative ah ; which needs something 
more than the verb itpoacpip, to give it prominence. To his own 
constructi6n it is a weighty objection, that never forever is not 
only harsh and inelegant, but if not a redundancy, then it im- 

^ von Hof. 


plies, that what is not done forever, is done for a period, viz., 
year by year. The Apostle, however, means that the law does 
not perfect at all (vii. 19) ; and this is sufficiently expressed by 

Leaving it to a foot note ^ to justify our interpretation of what 
follows, we observe that tlie A2)ostle proceeds, in a dramatic style 
like that used at ii. 12, 13, to represent the consequences of what 
he has stated, vers. 1-4. 

Ver. 5. Wherefore coming into the world he saith : Sacrifice 
and offering thou willedst not, but a body didst thou prepare for 
me ; 6. In whole burnt offerings and [sacrifices] for sinthau hadst 
no pleasure ; 7. Then said I, Lo, I come, in the roll of the book it is 
written of me, to do thy will, God. 

^ Before we attempt the interpretation of the following vers. 5-10, it must 
be determined how the Apostle uses there the scriptural language Ps. xl. 6-8. 
The common view has been and is, that the words of the Psalm, as far as 
quoted, are a " word of prophecy, predicting the coming of the Son into the world, 
and expressing his mind and intention in his incarnate state." (Davidson.) 
Accordingly, it is supposed, that the Apostle appeals to those words, meaning 
thereby to show that even the Old Testament scriptures reveals the inadequacy 
of the legal sacrifices, and expresses the divine dissatisfaction with them, and the 
divine will to have something else. Moreover, as the Apostle puts these words 
into the lips of Christ, it is supposed that he teaches, that, in the truest sense, 
not David, but Christ was the original speaker of them, or, as Grotius says: 
David sensu vulgari, Chriatus mystico. This view, then, obliges the interpreter 
of our passage to refer to the original Psalm and verify the truth the Apostle 
is supposed to find in it and enforce by it. Difficulties are encountered at 
once. The citation is from the LXX., with slight variations. These variations 
are but a little difficulty, which may be explained in various ways. The pres- 
ent citation, in that respect, has importance only as a datum in the general 
question : whence are the New Testament citations of the Old Testament 
drawn? (Comp. Ed. Boehl. Dk Alttest Citata im Neuen Test. Wien, 1878, p. 
287 sqq. Toy: Quotations in the New Testament. Introduction ? 1, I.) 
Then there is the difference between the Hebrew and the LXX. texts, 
the former reading : " mine cars hast thoti opened [digged] ; " the latter read- 
ing as our quotation : " a body thou didst prepare for me." This presents no 
small difficulty, and its consideration involves the determination of tiie relation 
of the LXX. translation to the Hebrew original (see Toy, (Quotations in the 
New Testament, p. 227), and of the (jncstion whether the LXX. is a final ap- 
peal. The proljlem presented by this difficulty prompts Delitzsch (//( loco, 
translation of Clark's For. Theol. Library; comp., also, Alford) to write as fol- 
lows : " In the version of LXX., which is also a monument of Old Testament 


As the scriptural language here used is no quotation for proof 
or corroboration, we are not called on to comment on it as we 
must if the case were different. We fail to see any meaning or 
force of the words apart from the impression they make as they 
read here. The Apostle borrows language found Ps. xl. 6-8, 
putting it into the lips of Christ ; as he is justified in doing, in 

scripture, and as such regarded with reverence by the writers of the New 
Testament — a work not without traces of the influence of the divine spirit — 
this prophetic and typical character of the passage is yet more evident." The 
perusal of such words makes one wonder how this way of exegesis differs from 
the Eomish way of regarding the Vulgate as inspired, and thus as the final 
appeal in doctrine, rendering the original Hebrew and Greek superfluous. 
Then a comparison of the Psalm with our text shows that the thought is dif- 
ferent in the two. Finally, the interpretation of the Psalm involves the ques- 
tion of its authorship ; and whether it is David's, "or, as may be the case, by 
some one belonging to a later time " (Davidson), becomes important (against 
Davidson ; von Hof.). 

All these observations, as they present difiiculties, so they make it certain, 
that there must be much disagreement among those that consider them. They 
are all involved in the view that the Apostle, in using Old Testament language 
in our passage, does so as appealing to its authority in support of what he 

Confronted with such difiiculties, we may very well ask the same question 
that was considered above with reference to i. 5 sqq. and ii. 12 sq. : Does the 
Apostle here quote the Old Testament for proof or corroboration of what he represents f 
We are not aware that any one has before proposed this inquiry here, any 
more than at the other passages just cited. At first sight this seems so unfav- 
orable to mooting the question at all, that to do so can only be presumption. 
Yet, on second thought, it may encourage the inquiry. The universal assump- 
tion that the Apostle quotes the Old Testament for proof may itself be the 
presumption. It deserves to be proved. For not all quotation of Old Testa- 
ment scripture in the New is for the purpose of proof. The Virgin's song 
reproduces the language of Hannah's song with no such purpose. (Comp. 
also Kom. iii. 4 a ; x. 6-8, 18 ; xi. 34 ; xv. 21 ; 1 Cor. i. 20 [Isa. xxxiii. 18] ; 
ii. 16 ; XV. 32, etc.) We should say, that in every instance of such quotation, 
the first question is : with what intent is the language used ? In most instances 
the purpose is so obviously an appeal for proof, that one does not think of 
making this inquiry, that should be first. This fact may encourage the pre- 
sumption that in every case the intent is the same. It is easy to pass from 
presumption to assumption, without inquiry or reflection. We think such has 
been the process in regard to the Old Testament quotations in our epistle. 

When we put the question : is this a quotation for proof? all the evidences 
before us are against the notion, and nothing is left to encourage it but the 
assumption on the ground that that is the common use of such quotations. 


view of the scripture authority quoted viii. 8-12, and the trutli 
that Christ is ^Mediator of the uew coveuaut as there promised. 
He proceeds by 8cu - wherefore, which sets the present representa- 
tion as a consequence of the immediately foregoing representation 
ver. 1-4. That representation is, that the law, by reason of its 
very nature ( [a] because a shadow of the good things to come, 

First of all, and of most importance, is the noticeable difference in the manner 
of this quotation and that which follows vers. 15-18. The latter leaves us in 
no doubt as to the intent of quoting. By saying: "the Holy Spirit testifies 
to us," the Apostle expressly intimates that he appeals to the scripture in 
question in proof of what he represents. Moreover, what he concludes from 
it is manifestly a just and obvitms inference from the language in its original 
context. It therefore corresponds to the purpose for which it is used. That 
a quotation w proof is reason for believing it is used for proof. But this reason 
fails in the passage before us, at least as a self-evident thing, as does also the 
express intimation that it is used for proof, such as we notice in vers. 15-18. 
We observe, then, that the Author knows how to make it evident that he 
appeals to scripture for proof when he does so. When he omits to do so, 
we may suppose he uses scripture language without that purpose. We have 
noticed the same thing above (see after iii. 7), in a comparison of the scrip- 
ture language used at ii. 12, 13, with that quoted iii. 7-11. 

Again we notice that the language before us is introduced (vers. 5-7) in the 
same fashion as at i. 5-13 and ii. 12, 13. But there is here the striking differ- 
ence, that vers. 8-10 expound the language put into the lips of Christ. This 
seems to afford a presumption that the language in question is treated as jiroof 
of the thing concluded, (so claimed by Riehm p. 186) ; and we would be 
obliged to take it so if it did prove this conclusion. But we observe that it has 
the force expressed in the inference ver. 9, only as it is put into the mouth of 
Christ, and not in the least as it is found in Ps. xl. 6-8. In the Psalm what 
is meant is, that God wants no mere sacrifices, etc., of the speaker ; our quo- 
tation is so expressed, vers. 5, 6, and interpreted ver. 8 as to mean, that God 
wants no sacrifices from any one ; he wills them not to be because he has no 
pleiisure in them. This is effected by the Author using ovk Tjv66K7]aa^ = hadst 
no pleasure for the LXX. ovk ^T)?<Taf= didst not ask for. This cannot be called 
"a substitution without a change of sense" (against Del.), seeing it gives pre- 
cisely the effect that is made jilainer by the paraphrase in ver. 8, where ovk 
Tj-^fkijaaq or(^ r/i'^uKTjang, predicated of the whole list of sacrifices, etc., expresses 
that God wills they shall not be because he has no pleasure in them. 

The Psalm conveys the meaning: "Since ceremonies of the law are worth- 
less when divorced from habitual obedience, instead of offering mere sacrifice, 
I offer myself to do whatever is prescribed for me in the written revelation of 
thy will." (J. A. Alexander on Ps. xl. 7, comp. Hengstenberg.) The lan- 
guage of our quotation gives the meaning, that God wills that sacrifices, etc., as 
things displeasing to hiiu, shall not be ; and the speaker says so as pronouncing 

344 ENTER THE SON, SAYING: [x. 5-7. 

and [6] because it ordained annual sacrifices that were only the 
same as those that individuals brought as often as they sinned) 
could never, year by year, make those serving God perfect. 
Wherefore, he adds, Christ, when He came, came with the intent 
and effect now described. There is no need of searching for the 
subject of he saith, or justifying the failure to name the subject. 
Other Apostles beside John ^ may presume to be understood as 
meaning Christ when what is said is obviously of Him. Coming 
into the world (etff£pxo/JLevo<i) expresses, in the most general way,^ 
the notion of entering into the sphere of worldly existence. This 
preface gives a significance to what follows that it could not have 
without it. We must not overlook its effect, as seems to be com- 
mon with expositors, who find a meaning in what follows that 

their abrogation. The "will" that "he comes to do," is not something 
in the sense, that obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Sam. xv. 22), (against 
von Hof.), but something that lakes the 'place of sacrifices, and that God does 
will and with which he is pleased, i. e., a better sacrifice than that of beasts, 
hxit a sacrifice still. The words in the Psalm therefore do not in the least justify 
the inference that sacrifices, etc., is taken away, and obedience to be given 
instead. But the words of our quotation, as put into the lips of Christ by the 
preface : " when he cometh into the world," a very essential part of the repre- 
sentation, do justify the inference that is drawn ver. 9, 6. 

If, then, as a quotation, i. e., in the sense the words have in their original 
context, the language employed is no proof of what the Author makes it ex- 
press, we are not justified in supposing he means it so, in the absence of a for- 
mal expression on his part to that effect, such as he uses ver. 15. And this 
must be true notwithstanding the interpretation and application of vers. 8-10 
that afford a presumption to the contrary. 

Von Hofmann says: "Is the quoted or rather adapted scripture passage an 
expression of the mental disposition witli which Christ came into the world," 
(comp Del.), though he has labored to show tliat the passage in the Psalm 
itself has a meaning appropriate to the use the Author makes of it. But it is 
manifest that we must go further and understand, as at i. 5-13 ; ii. 12, 13, that 
the Apostle uses scripture language to clothe his own thought, and again uses 
a dramatic way to represent the intent and effect of Christ's coming into the 
world. Assuming that the Apostle might dramatically introduce Christ as 
speaking and acting, we must expect him to put scriptural words into his lips. 
For the present purpose there was much to choose from, (Liin., Alford refer to 
Ps. 1. 7-15 ; li. 18 sq. ; Isa. i. 11 ; Jer. vi. 20 ; vii. 21-23 ; Hos. vi. 6 ; Amos v. 
21 sqq. ; Mic. vi. 6-3.) Yet nothing could be so appropriate as the language 
actually used for this purpose. 

^ Comp, all 1 John, especially iii. 2. ^ John i. 9. 

X. 5-7.] I AM COME TO DO THY WILL. 345 

they could find as well without this preface, and even better if 
the preface read : " wherefore speaking in David." The preface, 
as it is, intentionally characterizes the spirit in which the scrip- 
ture lanffuao-e that follows is used. It was not when the Psalm 
was written that the following is conceived as said. Nor is it as 
David is represented saying what he said (viz., " then said I," 
etc.) in some period of his life under a special experience.^ But 
Christ is represented speaking thus as He comes into the world. 
And not merely what David declares he said, does Christ say ; 
hut He says all the language quoted. What is meant is, that the 
language quoted expresses God's intent, and that, by coming and 
saying that language, Christ gives effect to the intention. In the 
quoted words we have the intention expressed. In : sacrifices 
. . . thou wouldest [willedst] not, i9i?.£r> has its strongest mean- 
ing:::" to decree,"^ as appears from the following to >/iXrjiJ.d aou 
(vers. 7, 9), and the Iv iu I'^eXrj/j.aTt (ver. 10). Thus the meaning is, 
that God wills the sacrifices not to be. To represent this relation 
of verb and substantive we have translated : " willedst." The 
words of vers. 5, 6, put into the lips of Christ represent Him as 
expressing the will of God, and, thus bringing with Him, as He 
comes into the world, the sentence that abrogates the legal sacrifices, 
etc. In antithesis (Si) he says : but a body thou didst prepare 
for me. We are not concerned with the question of how these 
words may be a translation or interpretation of the original 
Hebrew that reads so differently. Our only business is with 
them as they appear here. If this is thought to be too narrow a 
view, it is, any way, better than that method which expends 
many words on the critical question, and not one on the relation 
of the words in their present context.^ Did these words serve 
no purpose in the context,* we may assume that the Apostle 
would have omitted them, as he omits o i'm6<; ixou, t^ISouXtj'^v, and 
otherwise changes the original words. As for the view, that 
" this argument might have been made without the quotations, 

1 Corap. von Ilof., Schriftbew II., i. 6, 18.^>3. 

*See Grimm's Lex. sub voc; comp. John xvii. 24; Horn. rii. 19; ix. 16; 
1 Ck)r. xii. 18. 
' As, e. g., Alford. * So von Ilof. 


but a desirable support from the Old Testament seemed to the 
Author to be presented in the LXX. phrase, ' a body thou hast 
prepared me/ " ^ it can only occur to one that is blind to the integ- 
rity and spirit of truthfulness that breathes in every line of this 
epistle. In ver. 10, when he makes the application, the Author 
shows that the present words are intentionally used with the rest 
that he puts into the lips of Christ. And that application shows, 
as does the antithetical form of our clause, that the body is con- 
trasted with the sacrifices, etc., and saying that God prepared it 
{xary^priffio middle=" prepared for thyself")^ expresses that it is 
something God does will, and thus is well pleased with it, and 
means it to be instead of the other. The expression of this in 
the aorist is no ground for supposing that the time of saying 
this, and thus the coming into the world, must be understood of 
some period after Christ's entry into the world, say of His enter- 
ing on his ministry.^ The dramatic manner of the representa- 
tion warrants no such analysis. The present tenses Xiyet. and 
Xiyiuv, vers. 5, 8, dvatpu, (TTrjffrj ver. 9, adjust the sense of the 
whole representation. 

In verse 6 the Apostle writes : whole bumt-offerings and 
[sacrifices] for sin thou hadst no pleasure in, wherein he substi- 
tutes : thou hadst no pleasure for : "thou didst not ask for" which 
is in the LXX. Instead of supposing his MS. read as he quotes,* 
it is more reasonable to think he chooses his word on purpose. 
He thereby expresses something stronger, and represents sacrifices 
for sin, etc., as displeasing ^ to God ; and thus expresses the rea- 
son why God wills them not to be. 

In ver. 7, in the same intentional way, the Apostle changes 
the language of the original so as to connect rou r.ou^aai with 
^zw, thereby expressing that Christ said : I am come to do thy will. 
What that will is, must be expressed in the words of vers. 5, 6. 
For : in the roll of the book it is written of me, is without empha- 
sis here, as the explanation of ver. 8, 9, shows by omitting to 
remark on it ; and if it has any meaning, it must be, not, as in 
the Psalm, that the will to be done is written there, but that there 

^ Toy, p. 227. ^ See Grimm's Lex., suh voc. ; comp. Matt. xxi. 16. 

3 So de Wette, Alford. * So AKord. ^ Comp. ver. 38 ; 1 Cor. x. 5. 


is written what expresses that Christ comes to do God's will. 
And such, we suppose, is the meaning. As the present words 
intimate, that those of vers. 5, 6, express the will of God, they 
require us to interpret the latter as we have done, viz., as expres- 
sive, not merely of a sentiment of God toward sacrifices, etc., 
and regarding the body he prepared, but of His will, viz., will- 
ing that the former should not be and that the latter should be 
instead. Coming into the world Christ says : such was God's 
will ; and that He said He is come to do it. 

In respect to doctrine, we may pause to remark, that while the 
present representation admits of no analysis that would define 
when these things were said, and what epoch or point of Christ's 
history is intended by the expression : coming into the world, 
there can be no doubt that the expression involves the d(jctriue 
(a) of the pre-existence of Christ, and (b), that coming into the 
world. He did so with the clearest intelligence of what His mis- 
sion was to be, and (c) that especially it was His mission, which 
He made His own will, to offer His body a sacrifice for sin, and 
(d) that thereby the old covenant with its sacrifice was to be 
replaced by the new covenant with its one sacrifice of Himself 
as the atonement for sins. 

The Apostle comments on the representation just given, inter- 
preting the effect. The intention has been expressed in the quoted 
language :" sacrifices and offering . . . to do thy will," expressed 
in the aorist. The interpretation expresses, that effect was given 
to the intention or will by Christ's saying it, by which liyco'^ = 
saying is meant the whole notion " coming into the world He 
says." So coming and : 

Ver. 8. Saying above, that' sacrifices and oflFerings and whole 
burnt-offerings and [sacrifices] for sins thou wiUedst not neither 
hadst pleasure therein (the which are offered according to the law), 
9. then he hath said, Lo, I am come to do thy will, the effect is as 
expressed in the fi)l lowing clause : he takes away the first that 
he may establish the second. 

In reproducing the quoted language, the Author does so in a 
more convenient form for his purpose, bringing all that is the 

' bri untranslated in versions 1611, 1881. 

348 THE FORMER TAKEN AWAY. [x. 8-9. 

name for sacrifices and offerings together, to be the antithesis of 
the words : then he hath said, etc. Moreover he says : sacrifices 
and offerings, in the plural, and not in the singular as above.^ 

These changes that are made forbid our assuming : " that the 
writer prefers, instead of the simpler and more regular ayuizzpov 

el-(li'> . . . L>(TT£pov kij'et, to write d'XOT. Xiywv . . . Tore elpr^xev, 

because " he is more concerned to emphasize the internal connec- 
tion of the utterances than their temporal sequence." ^ It is evi- 
dent that the Author writes exactly as he intended, and that he 
makes the changes that suit his precise meaning. He makes 
another, substituting he hath said {elpr^y.£:v), for the I said (cT;rr>v) 
of ver. 7. But this is merely resumption of the latter in the 
manner that is proper after the recitative on. - that. For here, 
as above, vers. 5-7, what Christ is represented as saying is all the 
scriptural language quoted, and the recitative on extends over all. 
This on is commonly overlooked and its force missed ; as mtness 
versions 1611, 1881. In reciting what Christ says concerning 
sacrifices, etc., the Apostle adds a comment which points the 
reference of what is now represented to the general argument of 
which it forms a part. Which are offered according to the law. 
The ai'r;i'£9=: which, is not the simple relative that identifies ; but 
one that classifies ; and what the Apostle calls attention to is, that 
the sacrifices, etc., so spoken of are the very things in question 
in the whole context from ver. 1. He says, in effect, ordained 
by law though they were, such was God's purpose concerning 

The Author continues the recitation of the words Christ has 
been represented as saying : Then he has said ; and these words, 
for reasons given above, are not to be taken as the Author's and 
as forming the antithesis of: saying above.^ The saying of both 
the one and the other in that relation which has been called : 
coming into the world puts the case that the Apostle proceeds to 
interpret. " Coming into the world and saying " presents one in 

' The received text repeats the words in the singular. But the plurals are 
generally adopted as the correct text. 

* Del., similarly Liin. ^ Against Lun., Del. 


the posture of acting, and the action intended is denoted by what 
is said. It gives effect to the intention expressed when Christ 
comes speaking so. What that effect is is expressed : he takes 
away the first that he may establish the second. 

Tliese words are not a conchisiun, nor arc they a parenthesis, 
leaving ver. 10 with h w f^kyjimTi to connect closely with ro 
^ikr/fid <jou} It is the proper predicate of the subject '/.iymv x. r. X. 
ver. 8 ; and what is expressed is predicated of that subject, i. e., 
Christ as He is represented, viz., as one coming into the world 
saying the words put into His lips. It interprets the action. The 
action is one " will," with two correlative effects. The doing of one 
is in order to the doing of the other, which is impossible without 
it. That doing God's will, here expressed as : thy will, does not 
refer only to taking away the sacrifices, etc., is plain from the 
naming of the second that is established. Yet, that the taking 
away sacrifies, etc., is in part doing the will of God in question 
is obvious. What, then, is the second that Christ establishes. 
The context only offers : " a body thou didst prepare (thyself) 
for me ; " expressed in antithesis to the " sacrifice," etc. It was 
that which Christ established, viz., in the sense that His body 
was made the sacrifice instead of the sacrifices, etc., that are taken 
away. As a sacrifice it is established, for it remains, and beside 
it there remains no other (ver. 26). That such is the meaning 
involved in : he establishes the second, is made plain by the 
Apostle himself in ver. 10. He reverses the expression of it in 
order to combine it witli a compreliensive statement. 

Ver. 10. By which will we have been sanctified by the offer- 
ing of the body of Jesus Christ once for aU. 

We have seen above that in what is said concerning sacrifices, 
etc., and concerning what Christ would do as tiic will of God, 
the latter is not represented as the will of God in a way distinct 
from the other being the will of God also. And what has been 
represented is not that Christ instead of sacrifices, etc., does the 
will of God ^ in the sense that, to ol^y is better than sacrifice (1 
Sam. XV. 22). The abrogation of sacrifices ("the first") and 
the establisliing of Christ's sacrifice (ix 20) instead (" the 

' So Liin. ' Against Ebi-ard, von Hof. 


second ") was one will. This double intention expressed in the 
language adopted from Ps. xl., and the double effect accomplished 
by Christ in coming into the world and saying the language, is 
the will referred to by : which will. The expression, therefore, 
has nothing to do either exclusively with the notion that it was 
the will of God that Christ should suffer to atone for the world, 
or with the notion that it was the will of God that Christ should 
obey in general the divine commands and be holy.^ Nor are we 
called upon to mediate these notions, and show that the latter was 
the condition of the former.^ This interpretation comes from 
assuming, that, in using the words of Ps. xl., the Apostle 
intends a parallel with the experience and expressions of David. 
By the will of God the sacrifices according to the law were taken 
away by Christ, and His sacrifice established instead, and we 
have been sanctified by the latter. Let it be noted that -Kpoffcpopd 
is not offering as an act ; but the thing offered, as at ver. 5, and thus 
ffw/jLaro? is genitive of apposition.^ The text says : once for all 
in a construction that leaves it doubtful whether it expresses that 
Christ's body was offered once for all, or whether we are sancti- 
fied once for all. The order of thought, however, as well as the 
position of ^^arra?, makes it likely that the thing stated is, that 
Christ's body was offered once for all.* For the point is, that 
God wills our sanctification, not by legal sacrifices which are abro- 
gated, but by the sacrifice of Christ's body. And while affirm- 
ing the latter, the Apostle adds, that this offering was made once 
for all, which thought he restates ver. 12 in the most precise 
manner. Moreover, sanctification, in our Author's sense, being a 
setting over to God from a condition that is not that, involves the 
notion of something done forever, and thus adding to it : " once 
for all," would be redundant. 

We have been sanctified is not meant to express a benefit actually 
experienced in the persons of the Apostle and his readers, but 
what was achieved when the offering of Christ was" finished. 
When the priest has done all that it is the priest's part to do, 
then he has sanctified those concerned. And to those concerned, 

* Against Ebrard. ^ Against Alford. ' So von Hof., against Del. 

* So Alford ; against Del., Liin., von Hof. 


whether they are believers, or witli a view to making them believ- 
ers, it may be said, pointing to the priest's work : by that we 
have been sanctified. The Author's discourse is concentrated on 
the representation of Christ's work, not on the expression of the 
actual experience of its benefits. Unless this is kept in mind, 
there must be misapprehension of much that is here taught.' 

The Apostle names the Redeemer here Jesus Christ ; and 
tliis, we may suppose, is because the reference to His body oifered 
as a sacrifice concerns Christ in the flesh, i. c, in His earthly life 
having come into the world, in which condition His name was 
Jesus. It is to be noted, that in what the Apostle now affirms, 
he uses the first person plural. It is something that concerns 
him as well as others. At ix. 14, we observed that he used the 
second person plural, as speaking of something that did not 
concern him. 

In what has just been represented vers. 1-10, the Apostle has 
brought in the mention of the sacrifices that individuals offered : 
"the same sacrifices which they bring," sciL, they who approach 
God. This he does with the intent to show the impotency of the 
law with its sacrifices, and, in contrast, the potency of the one 
sacrifice of Christ's body offered by the will of God. Thus the 
effect is expressed in the passive " we have been sanctified," con- 
fining the thought to the efficiency of the sacrifice. But the notion 
of sacrifice is incomplete without the priest. Tlie effect of the 
sacrifice is not in itself, but is the doing of the priest that offers 
it, and, in fact, the priest is superior to the sacrifice. Accordingly, 
as the complement of the foregoing representation vers. 1—10, the 
Apostle proceeds to speak of the priests concerned in the offerings 
that have been mentioned, and, in contrast, to affirm the virtue 
of Christ's priestly act. The point is expressed ver. 14 : " by one 
offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified," in 
which is said, not what the sacrifice effects, but what he, the priest, 
does by his sacrifice. Such we understand to be the progress of 
thought; and therein we find the justification of the U/ieu^^of the 
Text Recept. against tlie dpxc^fei'xi preferred by some. This 
thought is appropriately conjoined by And. 

^ Comp. below on ver. 29. 


Ver. 11. And every priest, indeed, standeth day by day minis- 
tering and oJBfering oftentimes the same sacrifices, the which can 
never divest of sins. 

We retain hpsu? = priest, according to the Received text, with 
Treg., Tisch. viii., W. and H., ^Ispsuf^, Del., von Hof., Ebrard, 
etc. ; against Bleek, Liin., Alford, Lach. 

It is of priests, and not of high priests, that the Apostle speaks 
here, in order to present the contrast with Christ as Priest. As 
at V. 1 — viii. 3 he appeals to what is true of every high priest, 
so here he appeals to what is true of every priest ; but now 
to point a contrast, not a resemblance. He stands, makes the 
impression of being an antithesis to sat down, ver. 12. It is, 
however, if so, without emphasis. The contrasted thoughts are, 
a service that does not cease, and one that does. The two 
expressions are the convenient ones to use along with the rest of 
the language that represents this. Two things are mentioned of 
the priest (a) he ministers day by day, (b) and offers often the 
same sacrifices. The next clause is not a third thing added to 
the foregoing,^ but (as the a7rji/£9, properly interpreted, shows) a 
reiteration of the character of the sacrifices preparatory to predi- 
cating what follows. The which sacrifices can never divest of sin, 
says the Apostle, using the word -^p^shr^, which occurs only 
thrice beside in the New Testament.^ Here the sacrifices are 
named as the same, meaning the same every day, and described 
by mri'/zg, etc., which classifies them as to their nature. At ver. 
1, " the same " are defined by aU as those which are offered by 
those approaching God. Presenting the contrast, the Apostle 
says : 

Yer. 12. But he, having offered one sacrifice for sins forever, 
sat down on the right hand of God : 

Here, for reasons already given at ver. 1, we join ei'? to 
dt7jv£xi<i = {oTeveT to the foregoing verb,^ and understand the 
Apostle to describe the sacrifice of Christ as a thing done forever. In 

» With von Hof. ; against Del. * Acts xxvii. 20, 40 ; 2 Cor. iii. 16. 

' See in Alford the vote of expositors, which balances pretty equally, as do 
also his own representations, when choosing the connection with the following 


favor of this is, that it expresses an appropriate antitliesis to tlie 
sacrificing often of the Levitical priest. Against the rendering : 
sat down forever, is to be objected, that it cannot be the aim of 
the Apostle to bring in anything to prove that Christ's offering 
could not be offered again, seeing this has been proved before, 
and has again and again been used as something ascertained. 
Thus a chief reason for the construction objected to falls to the 
ground. Moreover, it is not said in Ps. ex. : " sit on my right 
hand " /oreyer, but "sit . . until I make," etc. ; and this the 
Apostle repeats from the Psalm. Making the sit until a " sitting 
forever," is too considerable an addition, for even the Apostle to 
make without some unambiguous expression of it. The : " thou 
art a priest forever," of the Psalm does not add the notion " for- 
ever " to " sitting at the right hand," either in the Psalm or in the 
use the Apostle makes of it. Furthermore, the rendering : " sat 
down forever," suggests, though needlessly indeed, a conflict with 
1 Cor. XX. 25-28. But, though there would be no conflict, we 
may assume that the Author would not express himself in a way 
to occasion the mistake. 

Instead of many sacrifices, is the one sacrifice ; instead of a 
perpetual ministry that needs standing to it continually, is a fin- 
ished work done forever, afler which, He who did it sat down 
at God's right hand ; ^ instead of sacrifices that could never 
divest of sins, is one sacrifice, that perfects forever, as is declared 
in ver. 14. But before giving expression to this, the capital 
thought, the Apostle, using the words of Ps. ex. : already quoted 
amplifies the notion : sitting at the right hand of God. 

A^er. 13. Henceforth, waiting till Ms enemies be made his foot- 

It is a frequent mistake to suppose^ that these words express 
the object of the waiting, in the sense, that while waiting, the 
subjection of the enemies is to take place. Thus i/.(hyi);j.ev<)<^ is 
rendered: "expecting;"^ and a supposed conflict is pointed out 
between the representation here and 1 Cor. xv. 25-28 ; * as in 
the latter place the destruction of Christ's enemies is placed after 

M. 13; Ps. ex. 1. ''AsLun. 

» Versions of 1611, 1881. ♦ So Lun. 



His second comiug. But ixdex- here means waiting.^ And the 
Apostle does not describe what Christ waits for or expects, as if 
His activity, or at least His thoughts turned into a new channel. 
We have a previous representation that forbids that, viz., that 
He is minister of the Holies in heaven itself (viii. 1, 2). What 
is described is, the session at the right hand in respect to its 
duration (to Xmnov is temporal, and not material, or expressive of 
the object),^ and thus the completeness of Christ's cessation from 
further sacrifice. The reference to His enemies becoming His 
footstool both marks the limit when there shall be a change from 
waiting, and enhances the notion of His certainly no more offer- 
ing the same sacrifice, by reminding the readers of the nature of 
the next coming into the world. It will be, according to the 
uniform Christian belief, to see His enemies made His footstool. 
This presents the strongest possible contrast between the time 
when He first came and offered the sacrifice of Himself and 
before His sitting at the right hand, and the time when He comes 
again.^ The representation, according to this view, is like that 
ix. 28, differing only in the thing that characterizes the next 
coming into the world. At ix. 28 the second appearing is char- 
acterized as being in order to save those expecting Him. Here 
it is designated as the period when His enefnies shall be made 
His footstool. But the contrast just noted does not seem to 
explain adequately this mention of the threateniug nature of the 
event that follows the sitting at the right hand. If only the 
impossibility of coming again to offer Himself a sacrifice be the 
notion, why not point to the milder and cheering prospect pointed 
to ix. 28 ? We think the present form is chosen to suggest a 
warning similar to those that have interrupted the discourse ii. 
1-3; (where see the long note) iii. 7-19 ; vi. 4-8, and that are 
sounded again x. 26-31 ; xii. 25-27. It is significant that in 
Acts ii. 34, 35, the Apostle Peter quotes the same Psalm-text, 
and then follows it with the warning : " save yourselves from 
this crooked generation " (ver. 40) as if that generation comprised 
the enemies that were to be made the footstool. The present 
mention seems to say : Beware of ignoring what this priest has 
' Comp. Del., Alford, von Hof. ^ von Hof. * Comp. von Hof. 


done so completely. It is an echo of the : " How shall we escape 
having neglected so great salvation?" It touches the note tliat 
is sounded more clearly in vers. 26-31. It says: Look to the 
finished work of this High Priest for salvation, or look to be 
counted among; His enemies when He comes to deal with them 
in the spirit of Luke xix. 27 : " But those mine enemies," etc. 

To the representation that Christ, having sacrificed once, ceased 
so completely as described, the Apostle adds a statement that 
explains it. 

Ver. 14. For by one offering he hath perfected forever them 
that are sanctified. 

The work was complete and needed no repetition. What was 
once done made him a perfect saviour.* In the same sense, in 
respect to those to be saved, it perfected ihevi forever. We have 
noted that our verses 11-14 relate to the priest^ s part in the sacri- 
fices. When the priest has done his part, he has accomplished all 
that the sacrifice can do. As far as sacrifice can do it, he has per- 
fected those offering it. Christ's sacrifice does perfect. Having 
made it, he has perfected forever. This is expressed as a thing 
accomplished with reference to Chrisi^s performance, not with 
reference to our partaking of the effect of it. In other words, we 
may not regard : by one offering he hath perfected them that are 
sanctified, and : by one offering they that are sanctified were per- 
fected, as a personal experience, scil. were, then, when the offering 
was made, as convertible expressions.^ They that are sanctified 
are perfected only when they have been sanctified personally, 
which must be an individual affair, and fall within the in- 
dividual's history. But perfection ivhen attainc^l is by means of 
what Christ did when he suffered. He then perfected all : he 
has perfected and does nothing more to perfect. He has done all 
that sacrifice does. 

The present context, using rthcow vers. 1, 14, and d^j«C<M vers. 
10, 14, invites us to define their meaning. Our vcr. 14 shows 
that they are not synonymous, and that sanctifying' precedes 
perfecting. Taking ver. 10 with ver. 14, it appears that both 
sanctifying and perfecting are by means of the one offering of 

* ii. 10 ; V. 9. ' Comj). on ver. 29. 

356 Ts?.etu(jj AND dyid^w, x. 14.'] 

Christ's body. At ii. 1 1 we have it expressed, that they who are 
sanctified are sanctified by Christ. At the same time tliey are 
called " the sanctified," not with reference to qualifications found 
in themselves, and what they do, but with reference to the pur- 
pose of God respecting them, and what he does. His purpose is 
denoted by the expression : " in bringing many sons to glory ; " 
and the effect is expressed by : " sons," and by saying that they 
and their Sanctifier : " are all of one." Agreeably to this, we 
have found that " sanctify " has its usual meaning in the Old 
and New Testaments, viz., being made holy, i. e., set over to God 
as his. The agent of this is Christ, and the means is his suffering. 
" To perfect does not mean to endow with all excellent quali- 
ties, but to bring to the ' end,' that is, the appropriate end, or 
that which corresponds to the idea. Hence it is a relative term, 
and may be used of bringing to completion within a variety of 
spheres." * Said of Christ (ii. 10 ; v. 9), who said : " I sanctify 
myself," ^ " to perfect" means to accomplish that which made Him 
what he was set apart to be, viz., a fully qualified Saviour. Said 
of those that are saved, " to perfect " means that, having been 
sanctified, they are in reality made to correspond to the idea, or 
the relation to which they have been set apart, as belonging to 
God. This is by divesting them of sin (ver. 11) in that way 
which is accomplished by sacrifice. This is not by imparting to 
them inward holiness,^ but by forgiveness, so that, no longer 
regarded as sinners, they are in a perfect relation to God, wherein 
they may come to him and serve him with boldness. As this 
was represented under the law by sacrifices that could not make 
perfect, and by what needed often to be renewed, " perfecting " 
was a notion that did not in itself involve once-for-allness, or 
foreverness. If, then, the perfecting accomplished by Christ's 
sacrifice is a perfecting forever, needing no renewal, it needed to 
be clearly stated. Hence the reiteration of the notion : " perfect 
forever." As has been noted, " to sanctify," being to set over 
to God, involves the notion of being done once for all and thus 
forever, and does not admit of degrees ; so that to qualify it by 
" perfectly " or " forever " is a redundancy. But dycdffac ofid^ 

^ Davidson. ^ John xvii. 17. * Against Del. on vers. 10, 14. 


6XoT£ht'i = " sanctify you wholly " ^ is no ralundancy, but suitable 
emphasis, to express that all, and not a part must be sanctified. 

The perfect relation, thus established is the anterior condition 
of all that makes one inwardly and subjectively what one must 
be to enjoy the communion of God. The latter is found in ap- 
proaching God and obtaining the blessing that makes one such. 
It is only consummated when Christ comes again for salvation, 
and when the eternal inheritance is received.^ 

The Apostle finally appeals to scripture, viz., the words of 
Jeremiah xxxi. which he has used with such eifect viii. 8-12, 
using now only as much as suits his purpose. He also modifies 
that for no other reason we may suppose, than to present briefly 
what is to his purposes. 

Vcr. 15. And also the Holy Spirit beareth witness to us; for 
after having said: IG. This is the covenant which I will covenant 
with them after those days, the Lord says : putting my laws on their 
hearts, and on their mind I will write them. 17. And their sins 
and iniquities will I remember no more. 18. Now where remission 
of these is, is no longer offering for sin. 

By (xapzupzi ^/ir> = bears witness to us, we must understand the 
Apostle to mean that the Holy Spirit supports and corroborates 
his, the Apostle's representation.^ For in the New Testament 
fiapTupelv with the dative of the person has this meaning, and not 
the sense of "declaring to." * With this meaning, the r^; means 
the Apostle and teachers of the truth like himself. With this 
interpretation there is felt to be no elision of what is the testi- 
mony of the Spirit, and less awkwardness appears in the follow- 
ing quotation, than with the interpretation we reject. 

The scripture language used here was quoted at viii. 8-12 as 
the word of God. Here it is referred to as the testimony of the 
Holy Sj)irit."^ This is because the Apostle a])peals to it as 
prophecy.® And this preface is one reason for dividing the quo- 

1 1 Thess. V. 22. Mx. 15, 28. 

' So Riiphel, Jac. Capell., Wolf, Baiimgarten, Lindsay; against de Wette, 
Liin., Del., von Hof., Alford. 

* See Grimm's Lex. ; comp. John iii. 26, 28 ; v. 33 ; Acts x. 43 ; xv. 8 ; xxii. 5. 

^Comp. iii. 7. "vonllof. 

358 NO MORE OFFERING FOR SIN. [x. 15-18. 

tation so as to make the second part consist of ver. 17.' For if, 
with most expositors/ we take the second part to begin with 
Xi/si xOpio?, and suppose the Author to adopt tliat phrase as his own, 
instead of its being continued citation, then what is the chief 
point of the appeal, viz., ver. 17, is brought forward as the word 
of God, and not as the testimony of the Holy Spirit.^ Another 
reason for making the division at ver. 17, is, that between the 
words of vers, 16 and 17 there is a considerable portion of the 
quotation left out, as it stands in viii. 10-12. This itself makes 
the division that represents the language quoted as saying first 
one (ver. 16), and afterwards the other, (ver. 17). It remains, 
however, perplexing, that the Author, whose style is so finished, 
should omit the correlative expression to his /lerd to £lprf/.ivai, that 
we look for, and that is usually supplied by a : " then saith he," * 
or the like. And expositors have usually omitted to say why he 
quotes the first part at all ; and have interpreted what is Avritten 
here as they might interpret if vers. 16, 17 were not in the text. 

The whole of the quotation is useful for the Apostle's purpose. 
The first part (ver. 16), declares the divine purpose of establish- 
ing a new covenant after those days, and the inward and spir- 
itual nature of its laws ; the second declares the remission of 
sins. The two are produced with omissions before the second 
so as to make it manifest that the second is said with relation to 
the conditions referred to in the first. This prepares for the fol- 
lowing statement : and saying that the Holy Spirit bears witness 
with him, the Apostle with one brief, final word declares the 
fundamental and revolutionary truth to which all his argument 
has tended. 

Now where remission of these is, is no more offering for sin. 

This statement is often read as if the Apostle said : wherever 
God remembers sins no more, there is no more offering for sin. 
We have, however, a more definite and qualified expression, 
though equally comprehensive in its effect. For the vTtuv = where, 
is not wherever and universally. It is somewhere. The orow 
refers to the relation or sphere wherein this statement is true, 
and "sets it forth in a local conception, like the Latin 'uhi, i. e., qua 

* So von Hof., Alford, etc. '' e.g., Del., Liin. ^ von Hof. * Version 1881. 

X. 15-18.] REVIEW OF VI. 1 — X. 18. 359 

in re' or ' in quo renim statu.' The relation is an objective real 
one, * historically ' come to pass." ^ It is when God establishes 
the New Covenant, as expressed in ver. 16. With that as his 
~ou (T-w, and with the power furnished Jby the concurring testi- 
mony of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle moves the whole mighty 
and long-enduring fabric of the law, with its sacrifices and priest- 
hood, and the burden of them is gone for believing Jew and Gen- 
tile alike. 

The Apostle has achieved his purpose proposed at vi. 1, and 
has submitted his readers to a discipline fitted to lead them on to 
full growth. Having passed over it, we observe that the 
instruction has been founded on the Old Testament scriptures, 
and that, while later portions of the Scriptures have been appealed 
to, the text has been the Pentateuch. Thus, as a matter of fact, he 
has dealt with " the beginning of the oracles of God." Moreover, 
we have observed that his method has been to begin by reciting 
the elementary matters from which he reasons. Thus he pre- 
sented Melchizedek (vii. 1-3), and the Tabernacle (ix. 1-7), and 
the use of blood (ix. 18-22), and besides these, other particulars, 
as his argument went on.^ Observing this, we must believe, as 
was represented above at v. 12, that where the Apostle says : 
" ye have need that some one teach you the elements of the 
beginning of the oracles of God," he means by the oracles of God 
the Old Testament, and by the beginning of those oracles, the 
Pentateuch, and by the elements such things as he actually uses. 
We notice that they are facts and institutions, rather than state- 
ments of doctrines or truths ; and further, that " elements " is a 
fitting designation. Observing, also, the method the Apostle has 
actually used, we infer, that when he says the words of v. 1 2, he 
has the intention of doing himself what he says is necessary for 
his readers. 

The introduction to this extended course of teaching is the 
exhortation of iv. 14—16. And we find that the passage, now to 
follow, has much in common with that, especially with the words : 
" Having then a great high priest who hath passed through the 

' Meyer on Col. iii. 11 ; comp. Grimn, Lex. onov- Matt. vi. 19, 20. 
*See above on v. 12. 


heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 
Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of 
grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help." 
(iv. 14, 16). Doing what is here exhorted, and doing it with 
boldness and the full measure of faith, and thorough intelligence 
as to the Christian's privilege, is the condition of full-growth, or 
adult maturity in Christian life, to which the Apostle would 
bring his readers. Having now finished the instruction fitted to 
bring that about, he resumes the exhortation, and also the warn- 
ings appropriate to such. The «yi' = therefore with which he 
does this, refers to all the instruction that has followed the exhorta- 
tion iv. 14-16. We shall see below at ver. 24, that there is 
even reason for taking the reference of ovy = then, back to iii. 1. 

Ver. 19. Having, therefore, brethren, boldness as regards the 
entrance of the holies in the blood of Jesus, 20. which he dedi- 
cated for us a way new and living through the vail, that is his 
flesh, 21. and a great priest over the house of God, 22 o. let us draw 
near with a true heart in fulness of faith. 

Concerning the recurrence of the title brethren, and what may 
be inferred from it, see below on ver. 24. 

We have here a comprehensive preface to the exhortation : 
let us draw near, which expresses the qualification for doing as 
exhorted. The preface summarizes, from the foregoing extended 
exposition, the essential things for drawing near ; by which is 
meant the same as is more fully expressed iv. 16, as "drawing 
near the throne of grace." It is a technical religious word,^ and 
expresses the whole notion involved, without the amplification 
needful for its full and exact expression to one unfamiliar with 
it. These essential things are two, and they are represented as the 
possession (e/ owre?) of him that draws near ; (a) boldness for, or in 
regard to the entrance of the holies, (6) a great priest over the 
house of God. In respect to (a), the Apostle now says : having 
boldness ; whereas at iv. 16 his exhortation is : " let us draw near 
with boldness." The difference is owing to his having, by his 
extended instructions, shown the ground for such boldness. And 
this shows in what sense he says : " having boldness." It is not 

' Comp. Del.; also ver. 1. 


in the sense that they actually possess it, so that now they are 
bold ; but tliat it is there for them to have : and being now pre- 
sented so completely that nothing remains but for them to appro- 
priate it, it is assumed they have it. And so the Apostle 
assumes, speaking in the first person, and comprehending his 
readers as now, like himself, at the point of full-groA\-th. At vi. 
1 he said : " let us go on to full growth." 

By boldness is meant the same as at iv. 16, a confidence 
inspired by the reality and certainty of something outward and 
objective ; it is not something inward and subjective, like bravery. 
Here, however, it is inspired by the certainty respecting the 
entrance of the holies, whicih the foregoing argument has demon- 
strated, and thus is designated : boldness in respect to the entrance. 
By erVooov is not meant "entering," or the act of entering, but 
entrance, I. e., way of admission, and ei^rrjveiffoSov may not be trans- 
lated " for entering " or " to enter," ^ but for or as respects the 
entrance.^ This appears from the o^Jov nway that comes in a])po- 
sition after fji/ -which. It follows from this that h to) aliiazt 

^I-qffou cannot be joined to eltniSov, as iv aijiari aXXinpUo to eKrifr^erat 

ix. 25. The notion of entering with or by the blood of Jesus is not 
expressed here. In the blood of Jesus,^ designates the ground 
for the boldness ; because there is that blood, and it has the effi- 
cacy described, as e. g., at ix. 12, we have boldness in respect to 
the entrance of the Holies, that it is an open way for us. There 
is admission to the Holies, by which is meant heaven, where, vi. 
20, it is said, Christ has entered a forerunner for us. 

The Apostle defines the entrance. For which refers to 
entrance. It is that which Jesus dedicated ^ for us ; by which is 
meant that it was made for our benefit and devoted to our use 
by Jesus. He called it a new way {izp6<r(fari)v, an adjective that 
occurs no where else in the New Tetament),^ meaning a way 
newly or freshly made. He also calls it a living way. What is 

1 Versions 1611, 1881, » von Ilof., Angus. 

' Comp. at ver. 10, why this name may be used here. 

*Comp. at ix. 18. 

' But comp. Acts xviii. 2. And see below under yer. 27. 

362 THE NEW AND LIVING WAY. [x. 19-22 a 

meant by this seems needlessly obscured by the effort to make 
it express too much. So simple a phrase does not admit of being 
interpreted as though it expressed an antithesis to " the dead 
ceremony of entrance into the earthly holy place." ^ The fact 
that there never before was a way (ix. 8) to go, excludes this 
antithesis. Nor is it to be burdened with both that meaning and 
more added on, like the interpretation : " The Apostle calls it a 
living way, because, not merely is it there to be walked, but 
itself bears him who walks it whither he would go, seeing it is 
nothing else than that relation of humanity to God which was 
made by the departure of Jesus to God, and which continues in 
His communion with God." " The Author's meaning in the 
adjectives new and living" is to be deri\fed from what he repre- 
sents concerning the manner in which the way was dedi- 
cated. Jesus made the way through the vail, that is his flesh. 
In this representation it is obvious that the Apostle has not only 
in mind the arrangements of the Tabernacle as he has described 
them ix. 1-7, but also the interpretation he there gave in ver. 8, 
that while the anterior tent stood for use, the way of the Holies, 
i. €., heaven, was not manifest. The Apostle now represents 
expressly that that way was made manifest by Jesus. In doing 
so, he does not represent the way as one that was there, but one 
that was made for us by Jesus. Accordingly, he does not repre- 
sent that the vail was drawn aside or removed, as something that 
hid what was there. He says Jesus made the way through (<Jcd, 
locally) the vail, an expression not elsewhere used. This denotes 
a way that was never there before, and tliat nothing was to hide 
or close up. It is reasonable to suppose, as is commonly done, 
that in this mention of the vail and flesh of Jesus in so myster- 
ious a connection, there is reflected the equally mysterious occur- 
rence of the rending of the vail of the temple when Jesus died on 
the cross.^ But the reference is not express, nor is there anything 
in the present expression or in that occurrence that makes it 
obvious how, to the words through the vail, the Apostle adds that 
is his flesh. This double expression intimates that saying : Jesus 
made a way through the vail, and : Jesus made a way through 

^ Alford ; comp. Del. and most. * von Hof. ' Matt, xxvii. 51. 


His flesh, are parallel terms. Either expression, taken by itself, 
would be easy of interpretation. But taken in combination, their 
interpretation is difficult. The common interpretation under- 
stands the Apostle to affirm, that the flesh, /. e., the human nature 
of Jesus, was a vail, "that hung like a curtain between Him and 
the divine sanctuary into which He would enter ; and in order 
to such entrance, this curtain had to be withdrawn by death, even 
as the high priest had to draw aside the temple-vail in order to 
make his entry into the holy of holies." ^ This interpretation 
demands the further definition, that " the flesh of Jesus is not for 
us what it was for Him, a curtain that, as long as He lived in it, 
separated Him from the place of God who is above the world. 
Thus only of Him can it be said that He went to God through 
the vail." 2 

All this, however, is a conception of Christ's human nature 
that has no parallel either in the present epistle, or elsewhere in 
the New Testament, and is too much to evolve out of the present 
expression alone. It is, in fact, deduced from what is itself an 
inference, viz., that the Apostle calls Christ's flesh a vail, mean- 
ing such a vail as that in the tabernacle. But we may well 
reconsider this natural inference, when we see that it is pregnant 
with such consequences as those evolved above. A closer scru- 
tiny shows that the inference referred to is not necessary. It is 
not the vail and his flesh that are parallel terms in the represen- 
tation before us. It is : dedicated through the vail, and : dedi- 
cated through his flesh that are parallel. As the rending of the 
tem})le-vail simultaneously with the death of Jesus on the cross 
is the only thing that is known that may throw light on the 
present expression, it is nearer the truth to interpret with Ebrard : 
" To the emblematical fact of the rending of the emblematical cur- 
tain, corresponded the fact of the violent slaying of Christ." But 
there is no need of supposing either emblem or allegory to be 
intended. AVhen Arnold of Winkclried opened the ranks of the 
opposing Austrians by grasping an armful of their pointed lances 
and burying them in his body, the historian or poet might say, that 
"he made way for liberty through the severed ranks, — that is 

* Del., similarly von Ilof., Liin., Alford. * von Ilof. 


thioogh his bodv." And the reader wonid not suppose a 
parallel to be made b«:vreen " body" and "ranks," He would 
nnderstand that two things occurring siniulianeouslv-, and equallv 
concerned in the thing achieved, may have equal mention in what 
is described-^ And so we may interpret the expression before tis. 
And in doing so, it is not even necessary to suppose that the 
Apc«5tle refers to the rending of the temple vail. It is enough 
that his foregoing instructions have presented both Christ's enter- 
ing within the vail a foreninner for us (vL 19, 20), and Hi> 
entering into the H'jlies by His own blood (ix. 12) as simultane- 
ous acts, whereby the way is made for us to approach unto Gt>d. 
Giving both equal mention in defining "the entiaiice of the 
holies.'' the Ap;«sTle says : Jesus dedicated it through the vail, 
that is his flesh ; a waj new and living. 

With this simple understanding of the words describing 
the dedication of the way. we may more easily apprehend what 
is meant by calling it : new and living. By the first is meant, as 
already said, newly, or freshly made. Yet it seems likely^ that 
the Apostle is led to use the unusual word -p6<rcaro> to express 
this, with some reference to its primary meaning = " newly slain,'' 
because of the manner in which the way was made : as one sur- 
veving a ruined city would likely describe the fortunes of its 
citizens as *' dilapidated.'' In calling the way living, the Apos- 
tle is similarly influenced by the idea of the manner in which the 
way was dedicated through flesh. Instead, then, of interpreting 
the meaning as given ab«:»ve. we may take as much of Ebrard's 
as says, that the way is called Living because " it consists in a 
living act," and not include with him any idea of contrast with 
the k<td and earthly way of the legal priests, or contrast with 
any other way. To interpret living way to mean '* a life-giving 
way "* is to make a single word express what it is the aim of 
our whole passage to signiJy : an objection that may be made to 
other compendious meanings like th<jtse cited above, Finallv. as 

1 Comp -'Tcic-i, PML 12. 

* A5 3tig:eested bv Gtrhard in DeL with dissent by DeL ; bat apptoved br 

' As de Wene. C'Lsiiauien, Sruart. etc 

X. 19-22 a.] A GREAT PRIEST OVER GOD's HOUSE. 365 

regards the entrance now described, there is notliing in tlic words 
before us that expresses the nution, commonly assumed/ tliat the 
way is one first trodden by Christ Himself and so inaugurated 
for us. Nothing is said here of the way Jesus must go to enter 
the Holies ; but only the way opened thither for us is spoken of,^ 
and that Jesus opened it. 

In regard to (6) the second qualification for approaching as 
exhorted, it is to be noted that Izpia [liya-^ means great priest, 
and that it is of Jesus as Pnest, and not as High Priest that the 
Apostle speaks here. Nor is great priest to be taken as an 
equivalent expression for high priest.^ And such is his appro- 
priate designation when called, a priest over the bouse of God. 
" For in that relation He is not considered in reference to what 
makes Him the antitype of the legal high priest in the service 
that peculiarly belongs to the latter, but as priest pure and sim- 
ple." * Not that priest involves the notion of one set over the 
house of God. But of this priest, because He is a great priest, 
this is said of Him, in a peculiar manner, as it would not be of 
another.* It is as Priest the Apostle has presented Jesus in the 
conclusion of his argument (vers. 11—14) and as a Great Priest, 
seated at God's right hand ; and so he refers to Plim here. The 
approach to which we are exhorted corresponds to that which 
individuals made through the mediation of the priests. Thus it 
is as the Priest to whom every one may come for priestly media- 
tion that Jesus is here so named ; and not as High Priest. By 
the house of God is not meant heaven* and its redeemed inhabi- 
tants, nor yet that, inclusive of the church on earth.'' At iii. 6, 
the Apostle has expressly and pointedly said that " we are the 
house of God," meaning believers on earth who hold fast tiieir 
boldness and hope firm to the end. This, and the recurrence of 
some of the language there in our present context (ver. 23) are 
sufficient reason for believing that he means the same here. 
Beside, as expressing a qualification for approaching God in 

* e. g., by de Wette, Liin., Del., Alford, von Hof., Angus. 

■■' So Riehm. p. 591. ' Comp. iv. 14 ; against Stuart. 

* von Hof. * So von Hof.; comp. "a son " iii. 6. 

* Against de "Wette, Kielim, Liin., etc. ' Against Del. 

366 DRAW NEAR WITH A TRUE [x. 19-22 a. 

worship, it is everji^hing that we should see in Jesus a Priest 
over the house of God, i. e., ourselves ; whereas, it does not seem 
plain what force there might be in saying that He is Priest over 
those in heaven. It is those on earth that need the priest by 
whom to draw near. 

Doubly qualified as now expressed, viz., having boldness in 
regard to the entrance, and having such a Priest, the exhortation 
is : let us draw near to God as He is in the Holies or heaven, 
with a true heart/ i. e., with an inward disposition in harmony 
with the action proposed, and without any inward contradiction, 
in fullness of faith,^ i. e., being fully assured of finding entrance 
and acceptance with God through our Priest. It is not drawing 
near, but drawing near in the fashion described, viz., with a true 
heart and full faith, that is the point of the exhortation. 

To the exhortation to " draw near," etc., the Apostle adds : 
" let us hold fast the confession." We are indebted to von Hof- 
mann for the interpretation that takes pepa'^naixivoi . . . xa^'/apw 
as prefatory to xariywitsv, in the same way that : " Having bold- 
ness . . house of God," is prefatory to : " let us draw near," i, e., 
giving the reason for so doing. It is expedient, then, to repro- 
duce his own justification of the construction, though somewhat 

" It is usual to take : having- had our hearts sprinkled from an 
evil conscience,^ and even : and having had our body washed with 
pure water,* as additional ground for the exhortation : ' let us 
draw near.' Additional ground is not something one should 
expect. If to an exhortation based on reasons given in a fore- 
going participial clause, there is joined another participial clause, 
one would suppose that, in distinction from that which has pre- 
ceded (and here in the same line with the expressions : * with a 
true heart,' and : ' in fullness of faith '), it would name the 
manner and means of doino; the thing: exhorted. But neither 
the clause : ' having had our hearts sprinlvled from an evil con- 
.science,' nor : ' and our body washed,' etc., is fitted to do this, 

^ Comp. LXX. Isa. xxxviii. 3. " C!omp. vi. 11. 

' So e. g.y Bengel, Boehme, Tholuck, Ebrard, Kurtz, Ewald. 
*Soe. g., Bleek, de Wette. Del., Riehm, p. 741. 

X. 19-22 a.] HEART IN FULNESS OF FAITH. 367 

while they are quite as fit to be the ground for the following 
exhortation, as the participial clause ver. 19 sq. is iitted to be 
the ground for the exhortation : ' let us draw near.' AA"e may, 
therefore, attempt a division of the sentences in accordance with 
these considerations, undisturbed by the reproach that we clum- 
sily demolish the harmonious structure of the whole, finely dis- 
posed period vers. 19-23.' And this the more so, because the 
supposed harmonious period closes, not with ver. 23, but with 
ver. 25, and by this, its much extolled structure loses quite as 
much as now the division commends itself that makes of the 
whole passage, vers. 19-25, two similar periods. Such a division 
no more mars the fineness of the periods, than when : let us hold 
fast, etc., is made the beginning of a second half, that is uncon- 
nected with the first ; ^ or when the apodosis begun with : ' let us 
draw near ' is made to consist of three unequal parts,^ of 
which, the middle one : ' let us hold fast,' etc., with its sup- 
plement : ' faithful is he that promised,' is much inferior in 
extent than the first and third. The division proposed, assuredly, 
does less injustice to the Apostle, than when it is assumed, that 
he would have closed the period with : ' our body washed w^ith 
pure water;' and was only prompted to exhort still further, to 
hold fast the confession, because baptism reminded him of .the 
confession ; by which this participial clause, unobserved, would 
be detached from the exhortation to which it belonged, and 
attached to that not originally intended.^ This assumption is 
even an admission that the two participial clauses : ' our hearts 
sprinkled from an evil conscience,' and : ' our body washed with 
pure water,' must belong to one another. And this they 
assuredly do, . . and they are the complement of one another. 
The perfect participles declare what has happened to us once for 
all.^ On the ground that such has happened to us, the Apostle 
bases an exhortation to do what is the consequence of our [there- 
by] belonging to the church of Christ, after He has given an 
exhortation, based upon what we have toward God through 
Jesus and what we have in Him, to observe the conduct that we 

' So Liin. * As e. </., Del. ' As e. g., Bleek. 

* So Kurtz. ' Against Del. 


ought in our relation toward God. . . The double possession in the 
one case, qualifies us to pray to God, as the Apostle has required, 
and in the other this two-fold benefit binds us in duty to do what 
He will now require. And the two halves of the section stand 
along side of one another without conjunctive particle, because 
the exhortations are coordinate, and what he says to show the 
qualifications for the one and the obligation to the other, serve 
as the ground for such coordinate exhortations." 

Adopting, then, this construction, we understand the Apostle 
to continue without a conjunction, as giving an exhortation coor- 
dinate with that already given : 

Ver. 22 b. Having had our hearts sprinkled from an evil con- 
science, 23. and having had our body washed with pure water, let 
us hold fast the confession of our hope immovable, for he is faithful 
that promised. 

We notice that ver. 19 begins with a participial clause prefa- 
tory to a hortatory verb in the first person. We have here a 
similar participial clause, similarly related in its position to a 
hortatory verb. This itself offers the presumption that it is 
prefatory like the other. It would seem, then, that all that is 
needed to confirm us in so construing it, is to find that it expresses 
what is suitable ground for the thing exhorted by the verb. 
What is affirmed in our participial clauses will show this rela- 

First of all, the perfect participles, having been sprinkled, and 
having been washed, express actions completed in the past, and 
done once for all. This meaning is blurred by the rendering : 
" having our hearts sprinkled, . . and our body washed,"^ which 
admits of being understood to mean things we procure to be done, 
and so procure in view of doing what we are exhorted to do 
(whether that be " drawing near " or " holding fast "). We 
suppose it is this confused notion that has occasioned these 
expressions to be taken in connection with the foregoing : " let us 
draw near," and that makes it difficult to do justice to von Hof- 
manu's construction that connects them with : let us hold fast, etc. 
This blurred sense suggests a likeness to the action of legal wor- 

1 Vers. 1611, 1881. 

X. 22 h, 23.] HAVING HAD OUR BOPY WASHED. 369 

shippers, who, as often as they would draw near to God, would 
procure qualifieatiou by sprinkling and washing. And so the 
Apostle is understood to mean, that we are to procure qualifica- 
tion for drawing near to God in the corresponding Christian way, 
and only true way ; ' and the only contrast intended is supposed 
to be in the means employed. But close attention to the perfects 
yields a different meaning. The contrast is not in the means 
employed, which are not expressed, but in the completeness of 
the things done, w^hich is expressed by the perfects. The con- 
trast, indeed, is not now expressed, but has been in the foregoing 
argument, and is here only to be remembered, while the expres- 
sions before us, only represent the conclusion, i. e., the ascertained 
truth, which is now assumed. The action expressed by the per- 
fects, then, as the completed transaction of the past, is something 
that, when done, had the effect now described. That was Christ's 
finished work as Priest. When He did that. He did all that it 
is the priest's part to do. Thus, we have read the Apostle say- 
ing : " by one sacrifice He hath perfected forever them that are 
sanctified." ^ But : '' perfected " comprehends all the benefit to 
be had from priestly mediation. It comprehends, indeed, all 
that pertains to right relation with God, not only what the 
priest did, but what the worshipper himself did when drawing 
near to God. It comprehended both the sprinklings with blood, 
and the washings with water. Therefore, to say : " by one sac- 
rifice He hath perfected," comprehends the notions, by one sac- 
rifice He hath sprinkled, and hath washed them that are sancti- 
fied. In our perfects, then, the Apostle expresses an effect of 
Christ's priestly work, such as would be expressed did he say, 
with evident reference to ver. 14 : having been perfected. 

The Apostle, however, says first : having been sprinkled as to 
our hearts from an evil conscience. Sprinkling is in order to 
cleansing, and the expression before us means : having had our 
hearts cleansed in the way that sacrificial blood does this. The 
resemblance of this expression to ix. 11,^ requires us to under- 
stand the same thing to be meant here that is meant there, excej)t 
that an evil conscience, is morecomprehensiv'c of all that burdens 

'Comp., e. (J., Stuart. '^Coini). on ver. 14 above. ' Conip. ad loc. 


370 LET us HOLD FAST THE CONFESSION [x. 22 6, 23. 

the heart with guih, than is the expression : " conscience of dead 
works." Here, as there, the reference is to the consciousness of 
evil that must be removed by sacrifice and priestly mediation. 
The legal spirit, that the Apostle has refuted and rebuked, moved 
his readers to seek cleansing by legal sacrifices continually 
renewed. He now reminds them that they have been cleansed 
once for all. He adds : and having been washed with pure water. 
Whatever interpretation is put on the foregoing expression 
involves also the present one. If that, as we suppose, reflects 
the disposition of the readers to resort to legal cleansing by blood- 
sprinkling, reminding them that they have been cleansed once 
for all, then the present expression reflects the disposition to resort 
to legal washings,* reminding them that they have been washed 
once for all ; for the sacrifice of Christ that perfected forever, 
accomplished that also. And so the Apostle says : pure water, 
not as meaning actual water. For then pure must mean actually 
clean water. But he means what does really make pure,^ as 
Christ said : " I am the true bread." ^ And such, we suppose, 
is the reference here. The propriety of mentioning here the 
washing of the body with water, has, indeed, no other natural 
explanation, than the reference to the context at ix. 9-14, where, 
in ver. 10, "divers washings," (iSanTcff/KHg) are mentioned among 
the ordinances of the flesh imposed till the time of rectification, 
when Christ procured an everlasting deliverance from them.* 
With such a reference, the present mention is natural, and 
reproduces a previously established truth, as does the foregoing 
expression. Without such a reference, the mention of washing 
the body introduces something corresponding to nothing that has 
been discoursed on, and consequently expositors, seeing no such 
reference, have little agreement about what is meant. Some 
understand the Apostle to refer directly to Christian Baptism,^ 
supposing that the mention of the body requires that, and ren- 
ders inadmissible the view of others,^ that this, as well as the 

> Comp. Lev. xiv. 8, 9 ; xv. 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, etc. Comp. Angus. 

* Comp. Ezek. xxxvi. 25. ^ Comp. John vi. 32. 

* Comp. above on ix. 12. ^ Bleek, Del., Alford, Lun., von Hof. 

* e. g., Calvin. 

X. 22 b, 23.] OF THE hope immovable. 371 

foregoing expression, has only a sj)iritual meaning, the present 
one to be taken as parallel with the language of Ezek. xxxvi. 
25. Not to adduce other views, we agree with those that think, 
that the mention of the body requires us to understand a purify- 
ing that concerns the body. But we see no reason for under- 
standing the reference to be to Baptism ; especially when it is 
evident that the language of vers. 19-23 a is meant to reproduce 
in brief, with a view to exhortation, elements in the foregoing 
argument ; and among those we find a satisfactory reference as 
just explained. What is done in baptism concerns inward 
cleansing as much as the purifying of the body. Our conjoined 
expressions : having been sprinkled, etc., and having been washed 
evidently express what is signified by Baptism. But for that 
reason we may not take the second to refer to Baptism and the 
first not. One does not need to be thinking of Baptism when 
he designates the things that Baptism signifies. Moreover, " it is 
inconsistent with sound interpretation to make one rite the anti- 
type of another."* A purified body is one of the benefits of 
Christ's priestly mediation,^ and is included in that effect that 
has been described ver. 10 : "we are sanctified by the offer- 
ing of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." By that, it 
is possible to do as the Apostle exhorts xiii. 15: "Let us 
offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the 
fruit of the lips which make confession to His name." * 

The notions expressed by : having been sprinkled, etc., and 
having been washed, are obviously a fitting preface to the exhor- 
tation : let us hold fast the confession of the hope immovable. The 
Apostle has said, " we are the house of God if wc hold steadfast 
to the end the boldness and boast of the hope." * Not that we 
are thus made the house of God ; that is done by the mediation 
of " the Apostle and High Priest of our confession ; -^ but perse- 
vering boldness is the evidence that we are that house of God. 
Now in the expressions : having been sprinkled, etc., and having 
been washed, etc., the Apostle expresses that cfiect of Christ's 
priestly mediation that qualifies us to belong to the house of God, 

'Angus. ' Comp. 1 Thess.v. 23. ' Conip. 1 Cor. vi. 11. 

♦iii. 5. 'iii. 1. 

372 LET us CONSIDER ONE ANOTHER. [x. 24, 25. 

the same, therefore, is the fitting ground for exhorting us to do 
that which is the proof of our belonging to that house of God, 
over which, says our context, Jesus is a Great Priest. What is 
expressed here in exhortation is the same as is expressed, iii. 5 
conditionally. The hope is not the subjective sentiment ; and we 
may add that a sentiment or emotion is not a thing that can be 
confessed without change,^ but something that fluctuates under 
influences irrespective of the conviction that the thing to hope for 
remains. The hope is that objective thing laid up in heaven as 
the goal of the believers race.^ The confession ^ of the hope is 
the confession whose substance or contents is that thing Chris- 
tians have in prospect and that is express matter of promise. As 
something confessed, it could be held immovable in the sense that 
they would hold the belief that what they hoped for was certainly 
and unchangeably in prospect for them. The ground for this 
constancy is the character of Him that promised, whose promise 
gives substance to the hope ; and so the Apostle adds : For faith- 
ful is he that promised. 

As we have noted that the thought expressed here in exhorta- 
tion is substantially the same as that expressed conditionally at 
iii. 6. so we must note that in both instances the subsequent con- 
text presents substantially the same . sentiments. At iii. 7— 19 
they are couched in the form of warning. Here they are 
expressed in the form of exhortation. 

Ver. 24. And let us consider one another for provocation of love 
and of good works ; 25. not forsaking our own meeting, as is the 
custom of some, but exhorting and so much the more as ye see the 
day approaching. 

, The present hortatory verb : let us consider has no preface 
like the two that precede, because it is not, like them, something 
' that must be grounded on the truths established in the extended 
) argument preceding ver. 19. It is the proper sequence of that 
condition when one draws near to God in the fullness of faith 
and maintains unwavering the confession of the hope. The 
Apostle says : let us consider one another. At iii. 1 he has said : 
" holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling consider (ye) the 

^ von Hof. * xii. 1. ' comp. iii. 1 ; iv. 14. 

X. 24, 25.] KELATioN OF X. 19-39 TO CHAP. III. 373 

Apostlo and High priest of our confession." We have postponed 
to this point noticing the fact that, at ver. 19, the Apostle begins, 
the hortatory sequel' of his foregoing argument addressing his 
readers as : brethren. This is because we are now better pre- 
paral to observe some significant coincidences of the discourse 
at iii. 1 sqq. and here. Since iii. 1, 12 the Author has not 
addressed his readers by this title. But now he resumes it, 
though without the adjective " holy." This is, however, only to 
give the latter more ample expression in the clauses : " having 
been sprinkled," etc., " and having been washed," etc. ]\Iore- 
over the lantruage : " having boldness for the entrance of the 
holies," is a more definite expression for the notion : " heavenly 
calling." And, " Jesus as having dedicated the new and living 
way, and now our Great Priest over the house of God," appears 
as He must appear when, with such instruction as the Apostle 
gives, we have " considered Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest 
of our confession." These coincidences of thought, taken with 
those noted above, concerning " holding fast the hope," and the 
words of warning iii. 7 sqq., are plain indications of the Author's 
own division of his discourse. At iii. 1, after the representation 
of ii. 17, he formally presents the subject which he has now pur- 
sued to its completion in ver. 18, though with various interruptions. 
Now, in our passage, vers. 19-25, he resumes the direct horta- 
tory address to his readers, having achieved what was proposed 
in the words : " consider the Apostle and High Priest of cnir 
confession, Jesus. He resumes with the address brethren, to 
advance to what is next needful. Now he does not, as at iii. 1, 
propose the confession, of which Jesus as High Priest is the con- 
tents, but the confession of which the hope is the contents. And 
now it is not Jesus whom we are exhorted to consider, but one 
a^nother. And consequently, a^ we shall observe, the hope, and 
faith that is the certifying or certainty of the hojx}, and the con- 
cern we must have for one another, become the subject of dis- 
course for the rest of the epistle. 

( )iir vcisc s oivc exhortation, first in a positive, and then in a 
negative form, and reflect the religious situation that calls for 
exhortation ; ver. 24 reflecting what was not doing among the 


readers, and ver. 25 reflecting what was going on. The double 
admonition of vers. 19-23, resuming, as it does, the extended 
foregoing argument, reflects the cause of what was going on, viz., 
a defective confession of Jesus, in which His high-priestly quality- 
was obscured, if not ignored. The confession of Jesus being 
now corrected, let the proper sequel appear in the matter of fel- 
lowship. Let us consider one another well {y.aTavuuifiev)^ for 
provocation of love and of good works. This does not mean what 
would be most naturally understood by the rendering : " to pro- 
voke unto love,^ viz., stimulating one another to love, etc. The 
word rendered provocation (napo^uff/jjk) is the same that occurs 
Acts XV. 39,^ where it is rendered " contention," and where we 
are told how Paul and Barnabas parted company on account of 
their reciprocal provocation. The provocation is that which one 
feels himself when considering well another,* not what he occa- 
sions in another.* The word is commonly used in a bad sense, 
but receives a good meaning here by a turn of expression like 
that which says : " owe no man anything but to love one another.® 
The readers had not been experiencing provocation in this salu- 
tary way, but rather provocation to enmity and division ; in 
what fashion, is reflected in the negative clause that follows. 
The assembly {rr^v intffuvaywyrj,) meaus, not the act of assembling, 
but the meeting itself, as we say : our meeting. But the Apostle 
says here : our own meeting (f aoroiv), which may have an empha- 
sis, like that of our English idiom, implying another meeting 
for which our own may be forsaken.^ The meeting so referred 
to is not some locally definite one, but the Cliristian congregation 
for worship and edification, that is the universal representation 
of the Church of Christ wherever believers exist. That there 
was reason for the present admonition is expressed in the words : 
as the custom of some is. In antithesis to the " forsaking," the 
Apostle adds : hut exhorting. He leaves the object unexpressed. 
In any similar participial sentence like ours : not forsaking . . . 
but exhorting, the expressed object after the first participle would 

1 Comp. at iii. 1. " Versions of 1611, 1881. 

3 Comp. Deut. xxix. 28, in LXX. * So von Hof. 

* Against Del., Angus. * Kom. xiii. 8. '' With Liin., against von Hof. 


be understood to be the object of the second. And we may so 
take it here,' and not supply : ** one another," ^ if we correctly 
apprehend the kind of exhortation and the aim of it, that the 
Apostle has in mind. He does not mean exhortation to faithful 
attendance on meetings for worship,^ nor to love and good works.* 
These would be exhortations to be directed to individuals ; and 
with this notion of the kind of exiiortation intended, it is natural 
to supply : " one another." The diaractcr of the exhortation is 
indicated by the words that follow : and so much the more as ye 
see the day approaching. It is the thing here referred to that 
must be the motive and the topic of exhortation. Whatever it 
may be, the advent of Christ, the end of the world, or the crisis 
of the Jewish nation and destruction of Jerusalem, and with 
that, the destruction of the Temple and abrogation of its wor- 
ship, the exhortation prompted by that must be exhortation to the 
meeting of Christian believers as a unit. The Apostle says: 
ye see, whereas from ver. 19 the discourse has run in the first 
person plural. The motive for this change may escape detection. 
But it may be to enhance the significance of what is remarked, 
as the Author can appeal to the judgment of his readers for the 
truth of it.' 

As to the day * the Apostle means, it seems to us evident, that 
it is the crisis of national rejection that was impending for the 
Jews that rejected Christ,^ and not the second coming of Christ 
to judgment.® At the period of this writing the signs of the 
ajiproach of what Christ predicted must have been plain to 
believers, and more especially to Jewish believers. And the 
nearer they were to the scene of action, viz., Jerusalem, the more 
those signs would impress them. It may even be this fact that 
influenced the Author to write : ye see, instead of: we see. At 
iii. 12, 13, the Apostle has said: "Take heed, brethren, lest 
haply there shall be in any one of you an evil heart of perfidy 
when there is a falling away from the living God ; but exhort 

' With von Ilof. " Lun., Alford, Vers, fill, 1881. » As Liin., Lindsay. 
* As Davidson. * So Liin. 

•Comp. Luke xxi. 22; D:in. ix. 2G, 27 ; .Joel ii. 1, 11, 31 ; Mai. ii. 12. 
^ So Lindsay, Ebrard, Baumgarten. * As Del., von Hof., Liin., Alford, Calvin. 

376 FOE IP WE WILLINGLY SIN, [x. 26, 27. 

one another day by day, so long as it is called \out] To-day, in 
order that no one of you may be hardened by the deceit of sin." 
" The day " meant in our verse is the period when *' the falling 
away " shall take place as a definite historical event. It is, for 
those concerned, the end of what is designated as " To-day," and 
of hearing " To-day " called out to them. The nature of the 
exhortation that is prompted by the signs of the day approaching, 
must be the same as that inspired by the thought that the call : 
" To-day " still sounds ; and its aim must be to prevent the hard- 
ening of hearts, and to move all to " escape " ^ from the calamity 
that must be, and will soon be the consequence of such hardening. 
An example of such exhortation is Peter in Acts ii. 40 : " He 
exhorted them, saying, save yourselves from this crooked genera- 
tion." ^ Such is the consistency of the Author with his own dis- 
course, that appears, when we understand : the day to refer to the 
approaching calamity of the Jewish nation. Beside these sufficient 
grounds for so interpreting his meaning, we have the consider- 
ations that are represented in the extended note at ii. 3, above. 
The words that now follow corroborate this interpretation, as 
we observe that they fit with exactness the representations just 
made as we understand them. The approaching day must concern 
the readers and fill them with alarm, if they are in danger of 
being involved in its calamities. There is that danger. 

Ver. 26. For if we willingly sin after having received the 
knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 
27. but some fearful reception of judgment and fervour of fire 
a-coming to devour the adversaries. 

It is commonly thought that the present passage has its closest 
parallel with vi. 4 sqq.,^ but its real parallel is with ii. 1-3. It 
is in fact, the same thought as there, but now expressed as the 
subsequent progress of the Apostle's discourse demands. The 
unlikeness to vi. 4 sqq. appears in the fact that the Apostle uses 
the first person plural, instead of, as there, the third person 
plural, where he describes persons and sins with which he does 
not identify himself, even hypothetically. The likeness to ii. 
1-3 appears in the use here, as there, of the first person plural, 

' Ck)mp. above on ii. 3. ^ Comp. Dent, xxxii. 5. ' Del., Liin., Alford. 


and in the ai)pcal (vers. 28, 29), to tlie law of Moses and the 
recompense visited on him that nullifies it, as showing what is 
left for one who turned from the salvation offered through Christ. 
In ii. 3 the iuquir}^ is : How shall we escape the inevitable rec- 
ompense of the law given by angels if we neglect so great salva- 
tion from it ? Now, however, the Apostle has fully displayed the 
completeness of Christ as a Saviour. By the truth he means all 
this sum of saving knowledge that he has represented. He 
means this particularly, while he uses the Christian word that 
comprehends all revealed Christian doctrine of salvation.^ He 
says knowledge of the truth ; and by k-iy.'uxn'; as distinguished 
from the less forcible Y'^u)ai<;, is meant the knowledge of a definite 
and actual thing.^ As such he has communicated the truth, and 
now his readers have received it. This makes the difference be- 
tween the present point and ii. 1-3, in recurring to the same 
thought. Here, as there, he comprehends himself with his 
readers : we have received the knowledge of the truth. But 
here, instead of : " having neglected," he says : If we sin willingly. 
By this is not meant any sort of transgression, but sin in the 
universal way,^ with reference to the truth m hicli is mentioned 
universally. It is sin that rejects the whole truth, and not merely 
a part of it, and treats it as if it were not the truth. 

It is affirmed,* that : having received the knowledge of the 
truth describes a really converted person, and that " this cardinal 
point must be kept in mind, or else ver. 29 becomes unintelli- 
gible." ® Leaving it till we come to ver. 29, to show that this is 
a misrepresentation as regards that, let us examine how true it 
is with respect to the language before us. The above affirmation 
cannot be justified on the sole ground, that k-iy^toffiq comprehends 
such a meaning and admits of no other. We observe, indeed, as a 
matter of fact, that the use of the word in the New Testament, 
except perhaps 2 Peter ii. 21, consists with that interpretation. 
But what is decisive in the present, is that the Apostle uses 
the first person plural. He means such as have receiveil the 
truth as he has himself. As regards the question : may one that 

' 2 Thess. ii. 10, 12 ; 2 Tim. ii. 2o ; 2 John 3. ' Del., Alford. 

^ Calvin. * Del., Alford, etc. ^ Alford. 


has been converted reject Christ and be lost, concerning which it 
is common to appeal to our passage (vers. 26-29), our present 
vers. 26, 27, offer nothing more than does ii. 3, where the Apostle 
says : " How shall ice escape having neglected so great salvation." 
The present representation, like ii. 3, is hypothetical, and is not 
meant to express directly or indirectly that the sin ever is com- 
mitted by the character described. It is introduced to enhance 
the force of what u affirmed in the connection. Here it is the 
declaration : there remains no more sacrifice for sins. In ii. 3, it 
is to imply that there is no other way of escape than the great sal- 
vation. At ii. 3, we have seen that the Apostle does not repre- 
sent, that there is no escape because the sin of neglecting so great 
salvation is so great, and unpardonable, but simply that he and 
his readers will not escape the certain penalty of having trans- 
gressed the law, if they neglect the only salvation, and that so 
great. So here, he does not represent the sinning as calling 
attention to its heinousness, and then say that there remains no 
more sacrifice for such sin, as if there did remain sacrifice for 
other sins.^ ' EyMuaiw^ d,aa/>-raw;>ra>i' = sinning willingly, does not ex- 
press heinous sin, albeit the sin referred to would be heinous and 
even apostasy. The Apostle uses dixaprfhw in that sense that 
was perfectly familiar to Jewish Christians, as the word used in 
the LXX. to translate >?on. This word " marks sin as mistaken 
action ; there is plainly, however, a reference to the goal fixed by 
God — human action is described as missing its destination, and 
thus failing to fulfil the word of God." ^ The Apostle, therefore, 
does not mean single sins, or sins of just any sort ; nor does he mean 
apostasy from Christ, as if using a synonym for Tzapaizz^ovraa vi. 
6.^ He means persistently pursuing {^a.iJ.apra-^<r^T(uv present parti- 
ciple), a way divergent from and in disregard of the truth. And 
because the truth is known, it is therefore voluntary conduct.* 
As in 1 Peter v. 2, elders are exhorted to " exercise oversight, not 
by constraint, but willingly " {ixouaiuxi), so the sinning referred 

' Against Calvin, Del., Alford. 

2 Cremer, Lex. 1st ed. s. v. dfiapr. comp. Exod. xxxi. 30, 31, 33 ; Num. xiv. 
40; xxi. 7 ; xxii. 34. ^ Against Del. 

* So von Hof. ; for conduct of a different sort comp. 1 Tim. i. 13. 


to here, is failing to fulfill the known will of God and missing the 
divine destination, not by any cunstraint of ignorance, or other- 
wise, but willingly, because one chooses another way. It is ob- 
vious how exactly this interjiretation fits the general tenor of the 
Author's discourse. If we sin willingly, so understood, is just 
what the Apostle may say including himself in the supposed 
case, in order to make the plainer what he w^ould affirm. The 
expression is conditional, and represents a situation of M'hich he 
affirms : there remains no more sacrifice for sins. What is thus 
affirmed is a universal proposition, reiterating comprehensively 
the negative aspect of the truth now known from the extended 
instructions preceding ver. 19. The legal sacrifices have been 
shown to be no sacrifices that take away sin. The sacrifice of 
Christ does take away sin forever (ver. 14). The concluding 
statement of the instruction is : " Now where there is remission 
of these, there is no more offering for sins " (ver. 18). Christ's 
sacrifice was " once for all," and there is and will be no other. 
If one turns from that, he has no other to look for. It is there- 
fore, as we have said, a mistake to understand ^ the present state- 
ment to mean, that the sin referred to is too heinous to be forgiven 
or to let repentance be possible. It is also a mistake to suppose ^ 
that it expresses, that there is no sacrifice remaining for that sin 
which one commits who turns from availing himself of the sacri- 
fice of Christ. This is true ; but true as comprehended in the 
universal situation described. The Apostle says : Sins. There 
is no sacrifice left for any sins. The Apostle expresses in the 
antitheses ('</) what is left. It is some dreadful reception of 
judgment and zeal of fire a-coming to devour the opposers. Most 
expositors take the tjV as belonging to ifafiepd,^ which must then 
mean that the quality of dreadfulness is in an undetermined 
measure, im})lying a very great degree. But as the emphasis is on 
ix'loyrj, the- force of the rtV attaches rather to that, to enhance 
the notion thus expressed by its indefinitencss.^ 

There seems the more reason for this when we render ixl^oyTJ — 
reception, and not, as is usually done, " expectation." The latter 

' As Del., Alford, Davidson. ' As von Hof. 

' e. g., Alford, Liin. * So von Ilof., comp. Winer, Gram., p. 170. 

380 OPPOSERS TO BE CONSUMED. [x. 26, 27. 

misleads one to understand that a subjective emotion of inward 
dread is here referred to, and thus to ascribe an emphasis to 
^afitpd that is not intended. We are indebted to Alford for the 
correction of this rendering, which he fully substantiates. The 
wonder is that it has so universally prevailed. The simple fact 
seems to be just as he states it : lx8o-/7j means " reception," and is 
nowhere supposed to mean " expectation," except in this place. 
In the New Testament Lexicons ^ the latter meaning is given for 
the present text only, without any support, and is simply trans- 
ferred from the commentaries. We may suppose it has been 
occasioned by the proximity of i:xdsy6ij.£v<i^ ver. 13, which, as 
noted there, is usually, though incorrectly, rendered : expecting. 
Seeing then reception, and not " expectation," is the correct ren- 
dering, it is a mistake to suppose, as is commonly done,^ that the 
Apostle expresses or intimates the torment of an evil conscience 
that those suffer who have turned from Christ after having known 
him, and that they are left a prey to dread apprehension. He does 
not point to what will be expected, but to what will be left for 
such a situation as is supposed, whether expected or not ; more 
likely, we may add, not expected by those concerned, than ex- 
pected. It is the reception itself that is in prospect, of a dread- 
ful judgment and zeal of fire, which expression we may leave 
without comment in the dread-inspiring indefiniteness denoted 
by the adjunct : some (ri?), and give our attention to what is 
made definite by the following words. The judgment is one that 
is a-coming (fj-iUovro?). It is evident that this refers to the same 
thing to which " the day approaching " (ver. 25) refers. The 
first impression is, that the Apostle means something soon to 
happen ; and there is no reason for modifying this impression. 
He refers to the approaching calamity that signalized the rejec- 
tion of the chosen nation. Every expression in the language be- 
fore us leads to this interpretation. In harmony with the terms 
that describe the judgment, we read that it is coming to devour 
those that are its objects. These are designated as : the opposers 
or adversaries. 

It is easy to mistake the term : the opposers as if it were only 
* See Grimm. Lex. sub voce. ' See, e. y., Calvin. 

X. 26, 27.] DEUTEKONOMY xxxu. 381 

another designation for those dcscrihetl ver. 26 as " sinning will- 
ingly." But the mistake reveals itself if we read : " For if we 
willingly sin, there remains (only) a fearful judgment a-coming 
to devour the adversaries." The ehange from the first i)erson 
plural to the third person plural is not an inadvertence, nor is it 
grammatically allowable to suppose that our Author, with his 
superior Greek, would drop into the exchange of persons so com- 
mon in Hebrew syntax, while meaning the same thing. The 
difference of person means different things. The adversaries de- 
fines the judgment that is referred to. It is a well-known judg- 
ment, as a predicted thing, that is coming on the opposers who 
are a class well known. Thus Jesus defines the punishment of 
those on the left hand as : " everlasting fire prepared for the devil 
and his angels." ^ The word, uTzs'^d^rto'^, that occurs again only 
Col. ii. 14, expresses something that by its very nature is origin- 
ally and inveterately contrary, and is a fitting designation for the 
Jews that rejected their Messiah, but not for those described 
hypothetically as " willingly sinning." What the Apostle affirms 
in our verse of those described in ver. 26, is that there is nothing 
left for them but to receive aloriff with those to whom it is a-coming, 
the dreadful judgment. 

In this representation of the judgment a-coming the Apostle 
reflects the language of Deut. xxxii. 22. " For a fire is kindled 
in mine anger and shall burn unto the lowest hell." We suppose 
he has in mind that and the whole passage vers. 15-34, from the 
fact that, in the ver. 30, he quotes the vers. 35, 36 of that passage. 
In Rom. X. 19; xi. 11 he quotes ver 21 of the same passage 
when treating the same subject viz., the rejection of the Jews. 
We fail to observe that expositors have noticed this connection 
of our passage with Deut. xxxii. This can hardly be owing to 
an oversight, seeing that every one notices the quotation from it 
in our verse 30. But, beside the general spirit of Deut. xxxii. 
15—36, and the coincident^s of thought and actual quotations 
already mentioned, there are verbal coincidences with our context 
that support the view we present. Thus we find in LXX. Deut. 
xxxii. 17 our unusual word nfioff^arov ver. 20; and in verses 

»Matt. XXV. 41. 

382 CRIMINALITY COMPARED. [x. 28, 29. 

16, 19, 21 the suggestion of our unusual word Ttapo^uff/xo? ; and 
in verses 19, 21, 22 the suggestion our Tzupda ^Y}ko<; ver. 27 ; and 
in ver. 22 xara^dysTai for our eaftUiv ver. 27 ; and in verses 20, 
35 the suggestion for our rr^v i^idpav ver. 25. 

Ver 28. Any one having set at nought a law of Moses dies 
without compassion on [the word of] two or three witnesses. 29. Of 
how much worse punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, 
who hath trampled under foot the Son of God, and accounted com- 
mon the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified, and 
treated the Spirit of grace with contempt ? 

The Apostle presents this impressive thought without express 
logical connection with the context by " for " or the like. But 
we may detect the progress of thought. He has mentioned " the 
adversaries" and the approaching judgment that will devour 
them. He has described that judgment with vague indefiniteness 
suggestive of its terrible measure. The language before us 
pauses to oifer a measure of what is to be anticipated. 

It is important to observe, that it is "the opposers" or 
" adversaries " whose case he presents, and not the character rep- 
resented hypothetically by : " If we sin willingly." This is, 
indeed obvious to one who concurs in the interpretation just 
given under ver. 27. But as corroborative of that, we notice 
that the Apostle still maintains the third person when mention- 
ing the character in question, while addressing his readers in the 
second person plural. In contrast with this, we observe at ii. 3 
that he says : " how shall we escape having neglected " (r. e., if 
we have neglected) so great salvation, " which was confirmed unto 
Its." This leads us to suppose, that if the Author would have 
put it to his readers, what thefy must expect if they apostatized, 
he would, after having said : " if we sin willingly," continue 
with the words : " of how much worse punishment shall we 
be deemed worthy if we have trampled under foot," etc. This 
is, however, not his thought. He has represented the situation 
where one has turned from the sacrifice of Christ, showing that 
for it there remains nothing but to share the fate of those that are 
the adversaries of Christ. He now adds a word to deepen the 
impression of what that must be, in order to put them on their 


guard against the (Icceitfulness of sin, and move them to hold 
fast to the end.^ We have here, in fact, a sample of the sort of 
exhortation that he would have his readers use in their meeting,^ 

The Apostle appeals to what is prescribed in the laAV of the 
Old Covenant, Deut. xvii. 2-7. The present tense does not 
express that the enactment was soon to be carried out at the 
period of this writing. It is the same use of the present of 
which we have found frequent examples in our Author, viz., 
the present of the Scripture record that he has before him. 
What he designates as: "the word spoken by angels," ii. 1, 
he calls here : Moses' law,^ an equally true and more com- 
mon designation. But we suppose it is for the purpose of 
enhancing the antithesis in ver. 29, when he mentions Christ, 
whom, for the same reason, he calls by His highest title. 
Son of God. The mention of: two or three witnesses, may be 
without any emphasis as brought in only because part of the 
case, and so making it plain that the reference is to the particu- 
lar case in Deut. xvii. 2—7, and not to other cases to which the 
same penalty attached. In the passage named, there is express 
requirement that there shall be three, or at least two witnesses. 
The case so appealed to is one of transgressing God's covenant by 
idolatry. The Apostle calls it : setting at nought * the law of 
Moses, thus expressing the sin in its spirit and essence, and 
thereby adjusting the case so as to fit the corresponding guilt 
under the conditions of the New Covenant.^ 

The Apostle reasons a minori ad majus. We observed at ii. 
3, that such was not the case. There the earnest question is : 
"how shall we escape ?" which implies that there is no escape 
from the situation supposed. Here the question is : of how much 
worse punishment shall the person described be judged worthy ? 
viz., than the Old Testament criminal. At ii. 1-3 the situation 
presented is one of general transgression under the law, with 
only the prospect due retribution, and the gospel as the only way 
of escape. Here the worst form of transgressing the law, with 
the extreme penalty, is taken, to represent what punishment may 

' iii. 13, 14. ' Ver. 25. ' Comp. Luke ii. 22. 

* Comp. Mark vii. 9. * Comp. von Hof. 

384 DESPISING THE SON OF GOD, [x. 28, 29. 

be expected for those who not merely " slip by " the opportunity, 
by " neglect," but Avho have treated the Saviour and all His 
benefits with indignity and contempt. The punishment must be 
worse because the criminality is greater. How much greater, 
appears from three things that are stated as true in the case pre- 
sented. The criminality is so expressed by participles in the 
aorist : having trampled, having accounted, having treated with 
contempt. This is from the point of view of the future 
"judgment a-coming" when the crimes shall be judged, as 
expressed by the future a^tu}3ri<T era:} 

Having trampled under foot the Son of God expresses, not a 
studied abuse and contempt ; ^ but treating as of no more account 
than the dust one walks on.^ The enormity of the conduct 
appears from what is so treated, the Son of God, and especially 
when considered comparatively with the case of setting Moses at 
nought. It does not relieve the case, that one treats the Son of 
God as nothing, because he believes He is nothing. The swine 
trample pearls under their feet because they see no better use for 
them. They are swine for their doing, and will be dealt with as 

Having accounted common the blood of the covenant wherewith 
he was sanctified. By accounted common is not expressed a loath- 
ing and aversion such as is suggested by the rendering polluted, 
unholy. It means common in the sense of : " not holy." * 
The enormity of so considering the blood appears from what 
that blood is. It is the blood of the covenant ^ wherewith he 
was sanctified. How great must be the criminality that treats 
such blood as if it were no more than any other blood ! It 
is affirmed ^ that the expression : wherewith he was sanctified 
compels us to understand that the Apostle describes a person 
that has had " an inward experience of a former sanctifica- 
tion of heart and life," i. e., a converted and regenerate person. 
But it is plain from 1 Cor. vii. 14 that the verb riytdtr^'^rj 
cannot of itself shut us up to that understanding. For in 

^ von Hof. ' Against Del., Alford. 

•'' von Hof.; comp. Matt. v. 13 ; vii. 6. * Comp. Acts x. 14, 15. 

* Comp. ix. 20. « By Del., Alford. 


the place referred to, the Apostle affirms that : " the unbe- 
lieviug husband has beeu sauctified by the wife " {r^xiaazai h t9j 
yuva'.xt), "aud the imbelieviug wife has been sauctified by the 
brother (^y/'ia<Tzac h rut u(h/.^-ut). And this representation admits 
of the indignant exclamation : what does the infidel husband 
deserve who abuses aud dishonors the wife by whom he was 
sanctified ! Moreover, our Author's use of dytfU^oj, so far from 
compelling the understanding claimed above, plainly gives us to 
understand something dill'erent. We have learned ' that he rep- 
resents " sanctifying " as antecedent to " perfecting." Yet " per- 
fecting " means itself no more than that gracious state of the 
truly regenerate in which they boldly draw near to God. Of 
" perfecting," however, the Apostle teaches ver. 14, that : " by 
one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified." 
And we have learned, that when he says : Christ " has perfected 
forever," he means, not the experience of that benefit by believ- 
ers, but Christ's finished work. As regards Christ's doing, He 
perfected believers when He made His offering once for all. And 
in this sense it is proper to say of the offering of Christ, to all 
whom it concerns, believing or not : if you slight this way of 
salvation you trample under foot the sacrifice by which you have 
been perfected. Moreover, at ver. 10, the Apostle says, in the 
same sense : " we have been sanctified (fjyiafT;j.iv(n i(T/j.i'J) " by the 
offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." This means, 
that on Christ's part all was done that sanctifies us when His 
offering was made. And agreeably to that, we may call on 
believing and unbelieving alike, and point to that offering, say- 
ing: behold the sacrifice by which you have been sanctified ! It 
is obvious that nothing essential is changed if we say : behold the 
blood of the covenant wherewith you have been sanctified- It is 
not only proper to say this, but in our context, where we have 
this expression, it is improper to understand it in any other 
sense. For that only is the sense in which the sanctifying effi- 
cacy of Christ's sacrifice and blood has been set forth in the 
extended argument from which the Apostle proceeds to the 
exhortation and warning of which our text forms a part. The 

' See above after ver. 14. 



reiterated truth has been, that Christ's body and blood, oifered 
once for all, sanctified forever, perfected forever. Whatever 
these words mean in our context, the effect is expressly a " for- 
ever-effect." That it plainly is when considered as Christ's part 
of the work. But when by : have been sanctified is understood 
the actual experience of saving regeneration, what becomes of this 
forever-effect, in one that treats as common the blood that has 
sanctified him, until he is overtaken with judgment. Thus it 
appears, that so far from being constrained by : has been sanctified 
to understand the regenerating effect of true conversion, we are to 
understand a provision for sanctifying sinners that has been made. 
And " it is worthy of remark," indeed (though in the very oppo- 
site sense from which Alford makes the remark), how Calvin 
interprets our h <L ijyidai'hj : Yalde indignum est sanguinem 
Christi, qui sanctificntionis nostrae materia est profanare. So, too, 
" by which expiation has been made," ' though bad translation, is 
true interpretation. 

But all need for the foregoing disquisition is obviated for 
those that concur in our interpretation, that our vers. 28, 29 pre- 
sent the case of those called " the adversaries," ver. 27, and not 
the case of those, the Author included, that is proposed by the 
expression : " if we sin willingly," etc., ver. 26. Understanding 
the Apostle to have " the adversaries " in mind, it is impossible 
to understand : wherewith he was sanctified to point to any- 
thing else than that which Christ's blood provided, when, by His 
sacrifice, it became the blood of the covenant. At the same time, 
the foregoing disquisition corroborates the view that the' Apostle 
is representing the case of adversaries of Christ who were never 
anything else. 

Having treated the Spirit of grace with contempt. By the 
Spirit of grace is meant the Spirit that confers grace,^ and not 
the Spirit as a gracious gift.^ The latter interpretation is possi- 
ble only to one who supposes that the Apostle describes a person 
once regenerate : though even then it is not justified by the 
Author's mode of discourse. Only twice,^ beside the present 

^ Stuart. ^ Del., Riehm, Alford. 

3 de Wette, Liin., von Ilof. * ii. 4 ; vi. 4. 


instance, does our Author refer to the Holy Spirit as an agent in 
effecting our salvation. But in all of these he represents that 
agency precisely as it is elsewhere represented in the New Testa- 
ment, for which the words of Christ may be taken as the expo- 
nent : " he shall bear witness of me." ' In ii. 4 the Spirit confirms 
the spoken gospel of sidvation by his " distributions." As at xiii. 
20, the Author says : " the God of peace," meaning that God is 
the dispenser of peace to us, so here he says : the Spirit of grace, 
meaning that the Spirit is the dispenser of grace to us. The 
grace which the Spirit dispenses is the whole benefit of that 
which is God's purpose of grace,^ making it our personal exper- 
ience, with all tliat confirms and establishes us in the assurance 
and enjoyment of it.^ That the Author does not amplify these 
topics, or more frequently refer to them, is sufficiently explained 
by his subject, which is Christ and His work. What is missed 
in express words, is abundantly present in the Author's perform- 
ance, which, as an inspired communication of the Holy Spirit, 
is from beginning to end a witness of the Holy Spirit to Christ, 
and taking of the things of Christ and showing them to men. 
In the order of our topics, Christ the Son of God, His atoning 
blood, and the Spirit that applies the benefit of Christ, we have 
the uniform New Testament mode of representation, and con- 
sequently Paul's. That it is common to the New Testament, 
and especially characteristic of Paul, is not to be dealt with as 
something the Author borrows from Paul.* It is one among 
many reasons for believing that our Author is Paul. 

It is affirmed that the expression : treat the Spirit of grace 
with contempt implies a sin that " is impossible without an 
inward experience of grace." ® Such a statement can only excite 
our wonder, in view of the words of Christ, IMatt. xii. 31, 32 ; 
Luke xii. 10 ; and especially in one who rejects the view that 
the Spirit of grace means " the spirit which is the gifl of grace," 
and affirms that it means " the Spirit as the source of grace." 
One can insult the Spirit as the source of grace, by refusing His 
grace, and opposing all the manifestations of it. That is what the 

'.John XV. 2r, ; xvi. 7-14. Mi. 9, 10. ^ jii. 4; xiii. 9. 

* Against Riehm, p. 56, on : " the God of peace." * Del. 

388 VENGEANCE IS MINE. [x. 30, 31. 

adversaries of Christ did when they ascribed the miracles that He 
did by the fin ^er of God to the agency of the prince of devils.^ And 
such adversaries the Jews continued to be who rejected Christ, and 
on them judgment was coming.^ These are the ones to whom the 
Apostle refers in the character he describes. And agreeably to the 
teaching of Christ, in the passages above referred to, he mentions 
insulting the Holy Spirit last as the climax of criminality. 

Thus he has put the case, leaving it to the imagination of his 
readers to represent how great must be the punishment of such 
criminality, and to remember that that is what is left for the 
supposed situation, when one has willingly sinned by turning 
from the sacrifice of Christ. 

The Apostle has not proposed to the imagination what shall be 
the punishment of the adversaries of Christ, but how dreadful it 
must be. In this respect the imagination will be affected, not 
only by the contemplation of the criminality, but also by the 
thought of who is the judge and executive. Accordingly, the 
Apostle proceeds : 

Ver. 30. For we know him that said ; Vengeance belongeth to 
me, I will recompense, saith the Lord ; and again : The Lord shall 
judge his people. 31. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of 
the living God. 

In these verses the Apostle clothes his thought in scripture 
language. It is essential to the interpretation of his meaning to 
determine whether he uses the language with the meaning it has 
in its original context or not. For, unless we refer to that 
context, the language as we here read it is liable to be understood 
in a way different from what it expresses in its original position. 
The words of our ver. 30 are found Deut. xxxii. 35, 36, the 
words of the second clause being found also Ps. cxxxv. 14. The 
Author evidently has in mind the passage in Deuteronomy. But 
there, and as they reappear in Ps. cxxxv., the meaning of the 
words is, that God will judge His people to do them justice 
against their adversaries ; and the vengeance to be recompensed is 
for the latter. Moreover, at Rom. xii. 19, where our first clause 
is found in identical words, the appeal is still the same, giving 

^ Mark. iii. 22-30. " Comp. Acts xiii. 44-52. 


assurance to God's people that He will vindicate them against 
their enemies. Only very compelling reasons in our context can 
justify us in supposing that our Author uses the same language 
here to express that God will judge, i. e., condemn His people, 
and visit vengeance on them.^ Such constraint is laid on the 
reader if he supposes, as is common, that from ver. 26 the 
Author has in mind, in all he represents, the character designated 
by the expression : " if we willingly sin." Then the context pre- 
sents only one character to which the judging and the execution 
can appertain, viz., apostate believers. But this constraint does 
not attend our interpretation, which has marked and maintained 
a distinction between the Apostle and his readers designated in 
the expression : " if we willingly sin," and others designated by : 
" the adversaries." It is those meant in the first expression who 
are to " consider " how dreadful must be the punishment deserved 
by those meant by the second. And, in our ver. 30, it is those 
meant by the first expression that are subject of the verb: 
we know. And if the scripture language now used constrains 
us to understand his people to be, not punished, but vindicated, 
we have the proper subject for that in the subject of the verb : 
we know. And if the vengeance requires for object those that 
are "the adversaries " of God, we have them also in those whose 
criminality has just been " considered." But, not merely does 
the presence of these distinct and contrasted subjects, viz., the 
Apostle and his readers on the one hand, and the adversaries 
on the other, relieve us of the constraint that leads readers to 
understand the present Old Testament language in a way so 
different from its original sense, and thus of resorting to various 
shifts ^ to reconcile the senses. We actually find in the original 
sense of the words the very meaning that is appropriate to all 
the context down to ver. 34. 

The Apostle says : For we know him that says. Were it 
merely his object to bring the notion of God as judge and avenger 
to complete the considerations needful for imagining how dread- 
ful must be the punishment of the criminality just described, it 
would be enough to say : " For we know that God hath said." 

' As most commentaries represent. * Comp. Lindsay, Alford, von Hof. 

390 ROMANS XII. 19. [x. 30, 31. 

And if the Apostle identified those designated by : " if we will- 
ingly sin " with those expressed by : " the adversaries," and 
comprehended all in the criminal character portrayed ver. 29, it 
seems unlikely that he would say : we know him. This expres- 
sion, however, is most appropriate to those who, in the language 
quoted, are named as his people in the sense of Deut. xxxii. 36 ; 
Ps. cxxxv. 14. It is expressive of confidence, and of the feel- 
ing that God is for them, and thus that what God says is as 
their defender and judge in the sense of the original utterance. 

Vengeance is mine, I will recompense, saith the Lord, is not a 
literal quotation of Deut. xxxii. 35 from either the Hebrew or 
the LXX. But it repeats the words exactly as they are found 
Rom. xii. 19. This can give cause for wonder and perplexity 
only to those that have resolved that Paul did not write both 
epistles. In support of that view, appeal is made to the supposed 
different sense in which the words are used here. But if, as the 
present exposition shows, the sentiment, as well as the expression 
is identical in both places, that reason for supposing different 
Authors disappears. Regarding the textual question, whether to 
retain : saith the Lord,^ seeing the evidence for and against is so 
nearly balanced we prefer to retain it.^ We cannot repress the 
suspicion that the view, at present fashionable, that rejects Paul's 
authorship of our epistle, has influenced editors to reject the 
words. As our words are used Rom. xii. 19, "Avenge not 
yourselves, beloved, but give place unto wrath, for it is written : 
Vengeance is mine, I will recompense, saith the Lord," the object 
IS to encourage believers to patience and to perseverance in well- 
doing, while suffering from their adversaries. To this end the 
language is quoted as a promise on which they may rely. Leav- 
ing retribution for evil to God who will vindicate His people, the 
Apostle would have them attend to " overcoming evil with good." 

' Rejected by Tr. Tischend. viii., after having resumed it in vii., W. & H. 
Version 1881. 

* Eetained by Del., Liin., von Hof., Alford. "The previous rbv e'nrovra 
eeeming to make it superfluous, it is probable that the omission may have been 
an early one due to a sense of convenience and propriety." Del. Similarly 
von Hof. 

X. 30, 31.] A COMFORTING PROMISE. 391 

The object of quoting the same divine assurance here is the same, 
with only the difference, that there is no reference to overcoming 
evil with good. The latter is inappropriate to readers whose 
danger was, not retaliation, but yielding to persecution and 

The Lord will judge his people, is said, then, with the same 
meaning as in the other places where it occurs. God will take 
the part of His people against their adversaries, who are also His. 
The whole passage, Deut. xxxii. 1 5-43 should be read, that it may 
appear how our whole passage vers. 26-38 reflects the represen- 
tations there. As we have noted the correspondence between 
Deut. xxxii. 15-34, to our vers. 26-29, so there is a correspond- 
ence between Deut. xxxii. 35-43, and our vers. 30-38. Beside 
the words actually quoted, we should notice : " Neither is there 
any that can deliver out of my hand. For I lift my hand to 
heaven, and say : I live forever. I will render vengeance to 
mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me . . . For he 
will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance 
to his adversaries, and will be merciful to his land and to his 
people." This passage from which the Apostle quotes was some 
of the most familiar scripture to Jews,^ and all tliis sentiment 
would be understood by his readers to be brought in along with 
his brief quotation. Here, as at Rom. xii. 19, the Apostle 
changes the language so as to make it a promise. This is inter- 
pretation, as well as citation. Yet as interpretation, it requires 
for its justification the whole context of Deut. xxxii. 35—43. As 
an interpretation it is perfectly correct ; and when contemplated 
in all its extent, it appears as one of the most glorious consola- 
tions of God's word. As such it was received and relied upon 
by the Old Testament Church ; and we observe from our pas- 
sage, and from Rom. xii. 19, that it is intended to be the comfort 
of God's people still, to secure their constancy and animate them 
to boldness under similar trials. And so it has been constantly 
used by Christians. 

In view of what is singular in our interpretation, it is expe- 

' Comp. above on i. 6. 


dient to call to mind at this point, at least briefly/ the import- 
ance that attaches to the passage Deat. xxxii. 35-43, from which 
the Apostle quotes, and which he formulates as a promise. The 
moulding influence of chapter xxxii. of Deuteronomy on the 
religious thoughts of Old Testament believers appears from 
coincidences of expression scattered all through later books. 
Comp., e. g., ver. 1 and Ps. 1. 4 ; Mic. i. 2 ; Isa. i. 2 ; ver. 7, and 
Job viii. 8; ver. 23 and Job vi. 4; ver. 39 and Job v. 18; x. 7. 
Delitzsch says of this song : " it may be called the compendious 
outline and the common key to all prophecy." ^ It is not mere 
literary reflection of the chapter, like that indicated in the texts 
just cited, that justifies this statement. In Isaiah we find the 
future of Israel and the Messianic history portrayed in the same 
spirit and with the same outlines that appeal' in this inspired pro- 
gramme of coming ages from the lips and pen of Moses. We 
have seen ^ that when Peter,^ and Paul ^ refer to the situation 
where the chosen people become the adversaries of God by 
rejecting his Messiah, they express themselves in language drawn 
from this chapter. If, then, we have, as in our verse 30, such an 
expression as : Vengeance is mine, I will recompense, saith the 
Lord, formulating the sentiment of Deut. xxxii. 35-43 into a 
word of promise, we must suppose it has the sense of the origi- 
nal passage, and has that sense in all its fullness and importance. 
In these words, then, we have a promise as solemn and emphatic, 
as that referred to xii. 26, and indeed the same promise. 

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 
It is usual to treat this as a reminiscence of 2 Sam. xxiv. 14, 
nothwithstanding that expresses a sentiment so different from 
this, and so inappropriate. For there David has a reserve of 
comfort in the mercy of God ; while here the dreadfulness of 
falling into God's hands is the exclusive notion. We think, 
however, that the Apostle has only in mind the passage which 

iComp. Lange-Schaff, Bib. Work., Deut. Introd. § 7, "The Manifold 
Importance of Deuteronomy," where may be found many details bearing espe- 
cially on chap, xxxii. 

^ Comp. in Lange-Schaff, Nagelsbach on Isaiah i. 2. 

* See above extended note after ii. 3. * Acts ii. 40. ^ Eom. x. 19. 


he has just formulated into a promise as it concerns the people 
of God. But in the words before us he expresses its sentiment 
as it concerns " the adversaries." We have quoted above some 
of the language to the point. But it is especially the following 
words that are reflectal here : " See now that I, even I am lie, 
and there is no god with me ; I kill and I make alive ; I wound 
and I heal ; neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. 
For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say : I live forever." ^ 
Here is language that suggests the expression of our ver. 31, and 
explains every word in it. Living God here denotes the unchange- 
able, dreadful, and inexorable God, and expresses that Pie lives 
now as then, to do now as He threatened then. 

Ver. 32. But call to remembrance the former days, in which, 
after ye were enlightened, ye endured much conflict of suffering, 33. 
partly being made a spectacle both by reproaches and afilictions, 
and partly having become partakers of those that were thus 

It has been usual to suppose that the Apostle makes a transi- 
tion here from solemn warning to commendation, as he does at 
vi. 9-12. But, with the meaning we have ascertained for vers. 
30, 31, it becomes plain that the only transition is that which 
began already in those verses. Giving the considerations Avith 
reference to God, that justify the anticipation of dreadful pun- 
ishment for the adversaries, has involved the reference to the 
grounds for God's procedure in such cases, viz.. His doing justice 
to the cause of His people, and vindicating them against their 
oppressors. Now the Apostle turns to remind his readers that they 
have had the experience thai warrants them in looking for this vinr- 
dication on their behalf. In doing this he turns from regarding 
the situation as one perilous with threatening apostasy, and thus 
guilt, on their part, to treating it as a situation wherein they are 
the feeble objects of a malice that would wrest them from God 
and subject them to destruction. This is precisely the transition 
that occurs in Deut. xxxii. 15-43, at vers. 35, 36, where the 
Apostle quotes: "For the Lord shall judge his people, and 
repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power 

1 Deut. xxxii. 39, 40. 


is gone, and there is none shut up, or left," ver. 36. If this transi- 
tion and progress of the Apostle's thought has beeu usually 
missed, and if even now it be challenged when pointed out, that 
is only what has occurred with the passage in Deuteronomy, on 
which the Apostle, as it seems to us, moulds his discourse at this 
point. In the Deuteronomy passage, just as the reader expects 
the discourse to begin to breathe out retribution against the faith- 
less people of God, who have turned to idols, he finds instead, 
that the fury of vengeance is turned against those whose oppo- 
sition has caused the people to err, i. c, against idols and idola- 
ters. The sentiment of the transition is finely expressed by the 
Psalmist's words : " Touch not mine anointed, and do my 
prophets no harm," Ps. cv. 15. Such is the transition of the 
Apostle's discourse in which we find ourselves at the verses 
before us. 

The expressions we are now to examine agree with the view 
just presented. Were this a transition from warning to 
commendation, like vi. 9 sqq., then it Mould be the effort of 
the Apostle, as there, to show that he has not forgotten the evi- 
dences of former faithfulness. It would be likely, also, that, as 
there, he would mention actually existing proof of the same. 
Instead of that, however, he bids his readers call to remembrance 
the significant facts, ichich are facts of the past. It was for them 
to remember, if they would feel the eifect of the promise just ap- 
pealed to. The facts referred to occurred after they were enlight- 
ened {(fwna^'H'^Tz*;)} As this expression is intended to mark a 
point of time, it must mean when the readers became Christians ; ^ 
and, as the reference is to them as a body, it must mean when 
they became a Christian church of the region where they were. 
Nothing in the present passage helps us to understand where the 
readers belonged geographically. But it furnishes proof positive 
that the readers were of the same period as the Apostles, and not 
of a second generation.^ The readers themselves are to remember 
the period of enlightenment and the subsequent trials as personal 
experiences. That period was when Jews as such were largely 
gathered into churches, and the trials were such as came from 
^ Comp. vi. 4. ^ von Hof. ^ Comp. at ii. 3. 


Jewish persecution. Both of these belong to the first generation 
of Christians. 

At the time referred to, they endured much suffering. Neither 
this expression, nor the following ampliticution of it, gives us a 
clear hint of the precise nature of the sufferings. They were 
such as characterized the time, and were sure to be inflicted by 
those that had power to persecute, or could subsidize such power. 
No one has yet succeeded in identifying the persecution to which 
the present description must be referred. We infer from the 
context that it was Jewish persecution, such as Saul of Tarsus 
carried on, that aimed at destroying all Jews that would be 
Christians, or making them blaspheme.^ This, which has been 
the common view, agrees exactly with the interpretation we make 
of the passage before us. The sufferings were inflicted because 
they were believers in Christ, to make them turn from the 

What is peculiar about the amplification of the sufferings re- 
ferred to, is that the Apostle purposely describes them in a way to 
comprehend all his readers as haviny endured them. If not 
directly, still indirectly, or constructively they had endured the 
assaults of the adversaries of Christ. All, therefore, ought to 
feel the support that comes from the assurance : " the Lord will 
judge his people." Such is the comprehensive force of ver. 33. 
They were made a spectacle, perhaps in very theatres {'"^sarpd^o/isvot); 
or they made what others suffered in this way their own, as 
partakers with them that thus lived, 'Avaffzpsfo/iivwj is best ren- 
dered conformably to its ethical use elsewhere in the New Tes- 
tament, where it means : " manner of living." 

Following this comprehensive statement is ver. 34, which is 
introduced by for, because it adduces what substantiates the second 
clause of verse 33, which, as something less obvious than the first 
clause to those of whom that was true, needs elucidation ; like 
the ': " Inasmuch as ye did it unto the least of these my brethren, 
ye did it unto me." ^ 

Ver. 34. For ye both had compassion on them that were in 

^ Acts xxvi. 10, 11. 
« Matt. XXV. 40. 


bonds,* and took joyfully the spoiling of your possessions, knowing 
that ye yourselves have a better possession, and an abiding one. 

It is supposed ^ that : had compassion, etc., corresponds to : 
"were partakers," etc., ver. 33; and: took joyfully, etc., to: 
" were made a spectacle ; " thus taking our verse as explanatory 
of the whole of ver. 33, and so the two particulars as referring to 
different experiences. If, however, our ver. 34 is explanatory 
only of: " were partakers," etc., ver. 33, then the two particulars 
of the verse do not express different things, but the latter refers 
to the practical proof that was given of tlie former. They had 
shown their sympathy by sharing their substance, say by paying 
the fines of those imprisoned. Thus their own substance was 
spent. And because they suffered this loss by reason of violence 
that made the necessity, the Apostle calls it : the spoiling of their 
goods. With less motive for so strong a term, he says : " I 
robbed otlier churches, taking wages of them, that I might min- 
ister unto you," (2 Cor. xi. 8). If such be the meaning, then 
accepting the reading iauTu6<?,^ we have the appropriate antitheses, 
of what they, and of what others possess.* Having surrendered 
their goods in this icay, they know that while others have those 
goods, they themselves have an abiding possession, viz., a heavenly.^ 

Yer. 35. Cast not away, therefore, your boldness, which hath 
great recompense of reward. 

In the experiences, of which the Apostle reminds them, they 
had shown great boldness (jzapprjfrtav) ^ in believing. That was 
their boldness, in a sense quite different from the boldness referred 
to ver. 19, which is spoken of as something they have along with 
the Author only in view of the foregoing argument that shows 
they ought to have it. Referring, then, to the boldness they 
actually had by therefore ("w-'),'' the readers are exhorted not to 
cast it away. They could only cease to be bold by what would 
be tantamount to casting away willfully the boldness they had ; 

' fiov rejected by Lach. Tr. Tisch., W. and H., version 1881, Del., Liin., Al- 
ford ; defended by von Hof. ^ Liin. Alford. 

3 With Lach., Tr. Tisch., W. and H. Version 1881 ; against von Hof., Al- 
ford, Del. 

* Comp. von Hof. * Comp. Matt. xix. 21 ; Luke, xvi. 9, 11. 

e Comp. Acts iv. 13, 29, 31 ; Eph. vi. 19, 20. ' So Lun. 


because they had such strong reason for being bold notwithstand- 
ing all their adversaries might do. Thus the Apostle says not : do 
not lose your boldness, but : cast not away. Pie follows this with 
the affirmation of the strouo; reason for maintainino; the boldness : 
which hath great recompense of reward (^fj.'.fT<'hi7:<i5iifTw^). We have 
here the Author's peculiar word.* His use of it does not permit 
us to suppose that the present affirmation has reference to the 
" abiding substance " mentioned in ver. 34,^ or to positive heav- 
enly substance. At ii, 2 it means the recompense of transgres- 
sions and disobedience. And at xi. 26 it may mean, and we 
suppose it does, the recompense to be visited on Pharaoh and 
Egypt for " afflicting the people of God." And the thought of 
our whole context, vers. 26—28, requires us to suppose that here 
the word has the same meaning. At vers. 30, 31, we have seen 
that the Author makes a transition from viewing the "judgment 
a-coming on the adversaries," as a calamity for them, to viewing 
it as a deliverance for the people of God. In the latter aspect he 
has continued to regard it, while reminding the readers of what 
they have endured, and boldly endured, from the persecutions 
of such adversaries. And with the same combination of ideas 
that leads him to say, vers. 30, 31 : we know that God will de- 
liver his people by a judgment ; it is dreadful for those that fall 
into the hands of the living God ; so he says here : continue to 
maintain your bold confession of Christ against those that afflict 
you, for it has a great recompense, deliverance for you, but ven- 
geance for the adversaries ; the Lord will judge his people. 
Viewed in this aspect, the recompense appears as a promise, as 
we observed at ver. 30. Accordingly, the Apostle proceeds : 

Ver. 36. For ye have need of patience, in order that, having 
done the will of God, ye may receive the promise. 

It is generally supposed, that : the promise here refers to the 
reward of the life to come, and that our vers. 35, 36, appeal to 
that reward and exhort to patience till it is received. Thus it is 
assumed that the expression itself carries in it all that meaning, 
as if, k-ayyt).ia were a sort of Christian technical term. We have 
already seen that such is not the fact.' Uj) lo the present the 

^ Ck)mp. ii. 2; xi. 2G. « As von Hof. ' See above at vi. 12. 

398 DOING THE WILL OF GOD. [x. 36. 

word has occurred seven times. At iv. 1 it is the promise of 
entering God's rest. At vi. 12 "the promises" are many, and 
different as the persons that received them. At vi. 15 " thd 
promise " is that given to Abraham of a numerous posterity. 
At vi. 17 " the heirs of the promise " are those that have received 
the promise discoursed on at iv. 1 sqq. At vii. 6 " the promises " 
are all those with which Abraham had been favored. At viii. 6 
the " better promises " are the present benefits of the new cove- 
nant as foretold by Jeremiah and recited viii. 10 sqq. At ix. 15 
" the promise of the everlasting inheritance/' is the definite thing 
supposed to be meant by iTzayyeX. as a technical term ; but it is to 
be noted that the definition is in the expression as a whole, and 
not in the meaning that iTrayyeX. carries in itself Thus it appears, 
from the foregoing use of iTzayytX. in our epistle, that in every 
instance its meaning must be determined by the context, and that 
the Author's discourse does not invest it with a meaning- of its 
own, so that when he says : " the promise " he means some- 
thing, viz., the future reward, as " the promise " par excellence. 

The present context points to the promise expressed ver. 30, 
that God will judge his people, i. e., vindicate them. When he 
does that in the case of the readers, and all situated like them, 
they will receive that promise in the way of actual fulfillment. On 
xofid^u), Mid., see above under vi. 12. 

But they have need of patience till that event ; and the patience 
must be sustained by such boldness as they have already shown. 
Thus the Author says : " cast not away your boldness, for ye have 
need of patience, in order that, having done the will of God, ye 
may receive," etc. Thus : " doing the will of God," appears as 
another expression for boldness maintained with patience. And 
receiving the promise in question is represented as the consequence 
of " doing the will of God." For we must here, as usually, 
construe the present participial clause as expressing something 
antecedent to what is expressed by the direct verb following,^ 
and not something attendant upon or coincident with the direct 
predicate.^ The doing the will of God meant here is such as must 
correspond to the representation of vers. 32-34, which is the im- 

• With von Hof. * Against Del., Alford, Davidson. 


mediate suggestion for saying they have need of patience. It is 
often spoken of elsewhere as the will of God. AVlien Paul would 
not be constrained from going into the lion's mouth of Jewish 
persecution, his companions desisted from dissuading him, saying : 
" God's will be done." * To the saints in Philippi that had 
suffered much and still suffered from the same cause, the Apostle 
writes in a strain parallel with the sentiment of the passage be- 
fore us : " Stand fast in one spirit, with one soul striving for the 
faith of the gospel ; and in nothing affrighted by your adversaries ; 
which is for them an evident token of perdition, but of your sal- 
vation, and that from God, because to you it hath been granted 
in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to 
suffer in his behalf; having the same conflict which ye saw in 
me, and now hear to be in me ; " adding a little after : " Let 
your forbearance be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand." ^ 
We have already pointed to the related passage Rom. xii. 19. 

The need of patience is not interminable. 

Ver. 37. For yet a very little while. He that is coining shaU 
come, and shall not tarry. 

To speak first of the Old Testament reference of these words, 
the first : luxpov oaov o(tov = a very little while is from Isa. xxvi. 
20, according to LXX. And yet so brief a phrase would not 
justify us in supposing an allusion to that passage, exceptional 
as this phrase is in scriptural Greek, were it not for the appro- 
priateness t» our context of the passage where it is found. It 
reads : " Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and 
shut thy doors about thee ; hide thyself, as it were, for a little 
moment, until the indignation be overpast." The /uxpov oaov offnv 
" is to be regarded as a nominative absolute (like k'zc juxp/y^, John 
xiv. 9 ; comp. Isa. xxix. 7, in the Hebrew), rcstat panhdum 
temporis." ^ Or " nothing more than an i^riv is to be supplied." * 
As an allusion to Isa. xxvi. 20, the expression does not denote 
that the indignation will soon come, but that it will soon be 
over. And this is the sentiment that ver. 36 leads us to expect. 
The Apostle would express that the need for patience will not be 

' Acts xxi. 14. » Phil. i. 27-30 ; iv. 5 ; comp. 1 Tet. iv. 16-19. 

' DeL * Liin. 

400 HE THAT IS COMING [x. 37. 

long.^ This gives the coloring to what is further said, which, 
while it portends calamity to some, is to be deliverance from the 
situation that, in the readers, calls for patience and doing the will 
of God in suffering Jewish persecution on behalf of Christ.^ 
The present is the time of distress for them. The approaching 
calamity will be their release. 

The next clause : He that is coming shall come, and shall not 
tarry, with the words of ver. 38, is language borrowed from 
Hab. ii. 3, 4, but too much modified to be understood as a pro- 
phetic quotation. But while the Author uses the scripture lan- 
guage to clothe his own thought and give it more solemn expres- 
sion, the language must derive its fitness for this because of some 
of its original meaning clinging to it. 

The words : He that is coming . . . not tarry represent Hab. 
ii. 3, which, speaking of a vision of the fall of the Chaldean 
monarchy, says of the vision: "though it tarry, wait for it, 
because it will surely come, it will not tarry." The LXX. ren- 
dering this, makes Jehovah Himself, and not the vision, the sub- 
ject of the verbs he shall come, etc., ore ip/oiisvo? ri^sc xa\ ab p-i] 
Xpo'Aarj. This change our Author marks still more precisely by 
writing 6 ip-(u/j.£i/o?. Many ^ take this 6 ip^o/ievo'? = He that is 
coming, as a designation for the Messiah, and the meaning to be 
His second coming. But the whole context from ver. 28 directs 
our thoughts to the retribution coming on those that rejected their 
Messiah,^ while ver 30 presents God as the judge of His own 
people to do them justice against their adversaries. He that is 
coming, then, means God as so represented ; and designated thus, 
in language borrowed from the prophet, the meaning is, that He 
comes to visit retribution as when, against the Chaldean power, 
" he went forth for the salvation of His people, even for salva- 
tion with His anointed," and " the mountains saw Him and 
trembled. The sun and the moon stood still in their habi- 
tation." ^ 

> So Calvin. » Comp. 2 These, i. 4-10. 

' Liin., Del., Alford, Hammond, Owen, Lindsay, etc. 

* So Ebrard, Stuart and McLean and Baumgarten, though making Christ 
subject. * Hab. iii. 10. 11, 13. 


The Apostle represents this event as the end of needing to be 
patient, and as the beginning of receiving the promise. It must 
be because of this connection of thought that most readers have 
supposed that the coming can only refer to the final judgment. 
But a comparison of xii. 25-28, where the Author recurs to the 
same thoughts, confirms the impression that our present passage 
ought of itself to make, viz., that we are here introduced into 
the same sphere of })rophetic events that are represented in the 
words of Jesus when He spoke of the approaching destruction 
of Jerusalem.^ In those words what is near and what is remote 
are blended in a way that makes it difficult to distinguish the 
particular reference. But everything in our passage constrains 
us to understand that the Apostle appeals to this prophecy of 
Jesus, as it lived in the minds of disciples, and also that he 
appeals to it as it referred to events that were near. His very 
words reflect the language of that prophecy. For Jesus said of 
the period of persecution preceding the catastrophe : " In your 
patience ye shall win your souls ; " ^ and also : " but he that 
endureth to the end shall be saved." ^ And of the event itself 
he said : " But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, 
and lift up your heads ; because your redemption draweth nigh," 
(^kyyil^st 7j aT:oh'jTpu}<Ti<; urj.(o>). With these Compare the expres- 
sions and sentiment of our vers. 36-39. We have noted that 
the Author's language (6 ipyo/jevm^) does not expressly refer to 
the event as the coming of Christ, but as the coming of God to 
judge His people for their deliverance. The same is true at xii. 
25 sqq. This is no discrepancy. The Apostle similarly makes 
God the agent in the destruction attending the coming of Christ 
in 2 Thess. i. 4-10. 

The Author proceeds in language drawn from the same souixje 
(Hab. ii. 3, 4). Our ver. 38, corresponds to the LXX. render- 
ing of Hab. ii. 4 ; but the clauses are in an inverted order.* This 
illustrates the Author's freedom in citing the Old Testament. 
The order of the clauses that he gives suits his own order of 

^ Matt, xxiv ; Luke xxi. Comp. McLean. 

' Luke xxi. 19. ' Matt. xxiv. 13. 

* For criticism of the text comp. Del. 



thought ; it has, also, the effect of obviating any ambiguity as 
to the subject of UTzoarziXjjrai} 

Ver. 38 a. But my righteous one by faith shall live. 

So the first clause reads, ambiguously, leaving the reader to 
determine whether by faith qualifies righteous or shall live. The 
same words occur with the same ambiguity Rom. i. 17 ; Gal. iii. 
11. The LXX. reads 6 duato<i ix Tziarew^ fxou ; whereas our text 
reads : 6 SUaio^ /luu ix nitrrewg. The fj.ov, indeed, may belong to 
the 7tc(TTstog though separated from it by ix,^ and thus only the 
order of words may be different from the LXX. But no 
emphasis or other advantage seems to be secured by transposing 
the fj.ou in that case. On the other hand, removing it from the 
■Kirrreioq corrects the LXX. rendering so far as to make it nearer 
the Hebrew, which reads ; "the righteous one by his faith shall 
live." The jiou may be explained, if we ascertain who is the 
speaker in the first person singular in the two clauses of our verse. 
It is usual to understand that the Author introduces these words 
as God speaking. But a scrutiny of his style through the entire 
epistle affords no other instance of his doing so without explicitly 
denoting that God is the speaker.^ 

The freedom tlie Author takes here with the scripture lan- 
guage he uses (transposing the clauses, conforming in the first 
clause neither to the Hebrew nor to the LXX., adopting in the 
second clause the LXX. which is no proper translation of the 
Hebrew), leads us to suppose that we have another instance of 
clothing his own thoughts in the sacred language.^ We thus 
understand the Apostle himself to speak in the first person,® 
though in this epistle he rarely does so.^ This gives a pointed 
meaning to the words before us, and they appear no more abrupt 
than when they are taken as God speaking. Taking the words 
so, the Si is not without significance, as it would be if only a part 
of the quoted language. It is adversative of the foregoing, in- 
troducing the expression of how those that are spared in the 
coming destruction receive the benefit, or who they are. If we 

' Boehme in Bleek. ''So von Hof.; cotnp. Matt. viii. 8; John ix. 15. 

* Comp., e, g., xiii. 5. * Comp. above on i. 5-13 ; ii. 12, 13 ; x. 5 sqq. 

5 So Calvin on ver. 38 b. * xi. 32 ; xiii. 19, 22, 23. 

X. 38.] SHRINKING BACK. 403 

construe: "but my righteous one shall live by faith," this 
answers the question : how shall He live ? This is the same 
question as ii. 3, "How shall we escape?" If we construe: 
" but my righteous one by faith shall live," it answers the ques- 
tion : who shall live ? The meaning in either case comes to 
the same thing. Faith is the saving and life-giving quality. 
We may leave the expression in its ambiguity. Influenced by 
the sacred language he adopts for expressing the truth, the Apostle 
says : " my righteous one," which signifies a personal complac- 
ency in the character mentioned, that prepares for the expression 
of personal displeasure in the following clause. 

Ver. 38 b. And if he shrink back, my soul hath not pleasure 
in him. 

The xai = and, is no part of the language quoted from the 
LXX., but the Author's own, and is one of the indications that 
he is speaking his own sentiment. The translation of the LXX., 
which is exactly reproduced in the words that follow the And, 
is no proper rendering of the Hebrew, which reads : " Behold 
his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him." As the 
Apostle intends no citation, we need not ^ attempt to trace any 
identity of sentiment in language so different. The xai = And, 
is not to be rendered by : " yet," or the like, as if our clause 
expressed the notion of the subject of the foregoing clause 
becoming not a righteous one, and devoid of faith.^ It is simply 
conjunctive, adding what may be, and is expressed of the same 
subject as there described. The subject of urtoffrsiXrjrat is 6 8Ua'.n<i 
of the foregoing clause, and it is inadmissible to substitute another 
subject, e. g., " any man." ^ That substitution might be ascribed 
to dogmatic scruples relating to the doctrine of the perseverance 
of the regenerate. But, beside its being inadmissible to save the 
doctrine by straining a translation, the proper understanding of 
what the Apostle actually says shows that the fears for the doc- 
trine are groundless. 

The verb vTZiXTziXXw occurs beside in the New Testament only 
Acts XX. 20, 27 : Gal. ii. 12 ; the noun vtzoittoXi^ only in the fal- 
lowing verse. The words denote " shrinking back " or " flinch- 

' As Calvin. * Against Del. ^Version of 1611. 


ing," though timidity or similiar motives, thus halting about 
taking a position that demands boldness. Such is especially the 
sense of the verb in the middle voice. It needs some strong 
qualifying phrase to give it the meaning of turning the back on 
anything, e. g,, such qualification as follows the noun in the next 
verse. It is, therefore, forcing the word to take it as expressing 
apostasy. It is the misunderstanding of the foregoing context 
that has led readers to do this. As predicate here, with " the 
righteous one " for subject, only very compelling reasons could 
justify us in understanding it to express apostasy. We have 
fortunately an exact illustration of the sense in which itonriXXio 
may be predicated of a righteous one by faith. It is in Gal. ii. 
11-14. In the matter of Jewish believers recognizing the unity 
of Gentile believers with them by eating with them, Peter had 
conformed in Antioch, till some came from James. " But when 
they came he drew back {p-KiffTeXXsv iaonrJ) and separated himself, 
fearing them that were of the circumcision." For this Paul 
" resisted him to the face," and that " before all " the disciples. 
With what a sentiment of deep displeasure in his fellow Apostle, 
Paul did this, let the whole epistle to the Galatians speak. Peter's 
conduct was no apostasy, though a grave fault that compromised 
" the truth of the gospel." Yet it was conduct that could pro- 
ceed to what would be " a shrinking back to destruction," as 
expressed in ver. 39. In this coincidence of thought, and of the 
use of a rare word, we have as striking a proof of Paul's being 
the Author of our epistle as that furnished by finding here his 
favorite text: "The just by faith shall live," quoted exactly in 
his singular manner. The latter trait has ever been one of the 
greatest difficulties for those that deny his authorship. 

The appeal to Gal. ii. 11-14, shows, then, how "shrinking 
back " may be predicated of one described as a " righteous one 
by faith." We believe it is so predicated here. The Apostle 
then means : if such a person shrinks back in timidity, as Peter 
(and " the rest of the Jews " in Antioch " likewise with him, 
insomuch that even Barnabas was carried away with their dis- 
simulation "), as if one were to be justified and live by the works 
of the law, and a man were not justified by faith, and the righteous 


by faith alone did not live. In such an one he says : I have not 
pleasure, and what he means by that is best illustrated by the 
displeasure he showed in the case we appeal to. He does not 
affirm that " he has no pleasure in him." ^ That is too strong a 
rendering, and is occasioned, as is the rendering : " if any man 
draw back," ^ by the notion that the Apostle means apostasy. 
As at X. 6 vux rjb8uxri<Ta<s expresses that God had not pleasure in 
sacrifices for sins, so our ooy. eudaxsi expresses that when the 
righteous one by faith, who should have the boldness (ver. 19) 
which the Apostle imputes to his readers, shrinks timidly back 
to use ordinances of the law as if they were needful to his feel- 
ing assured that he " shall live," then the Apostle " has not 
pleasure in him." 

And well may he say so in concluding an exhortation like the 
present (ver. 19-38) that follows such an argument as that of 
vii. 1 — X. 18, We say concluding words. For here, it appears 
to us, the present exhortation concludes. This will appear when 
we consider the import of the following verse which we take to 
be the preface to the impressive illustrative discourse on faith 
comprised in chapter xi. But viewing our verses 37, 38 as a 
conclusion, they instantly appear most fitting as such. Then 
their laconic style, and the impressive use of the first person 
singular have peculiar appropriateness. As a conclusion of the 
treatment of the main subject of the epistle from the beginning 
to the present point, it impresses us the more we contemplate it. 
It applies to his readers. It sums up in one clause what they 
ought to be, viz., righteous ones by faith that shall live ; and, 
with Apostolic authority and benignity, it expresses his complac- 
ency in them a.s such by the significant : " my." It reflects the 
condition of reproach that made this epistle necessary. Some 
were shrinking back. To such, with Apostolic authority, and 
firmness, he expresses his displeasure. Yet does it, not as to 
apostates with severity ; but with mildness, as to those concern- 
ing whom he is persuaded that there were the better things (vi. 9). 
Regarded thus as a conclusion, our vers. 37, 38 equal in rhetori- 

> Versions of 1611, 1881. * Version 1611. 

406 A PREFACE. [x. 39. 

cal finish anything that appears in this most polished writing of 
the New Testament. 

Ver. 39. But we are not of slirinking back to destruction, but 
of faith to gaining the soul. 

We prefer here the rendering of the margin in the version of 
1881, though it is stiff. We have the same idiom in English, 
though of more limited application than in the Greek. Comp. 
T?;? 68ob ehac Acts ix. 2, which may be rendered literally and 
exactly. Comp. also /apa.<i xii. 11 ; meunazo<i Luke ix. 25. 

The close connection of this verse with what ibllows xi. 1 sqq. 
is generally recognized.^ But it has the manner of a transition 
to a fresh topic, and as a matter of fact, we observe that the 
faith, here so emphatically mentioned, is immediately amplified 
and glorified in a very remarkable way. So that our verse forms 
a preface. It is not inconsistent with its character as such, that 
it has a logical connection with what immediately precedes. That 
connection is strongly antithetical. It is usual to read as if: 
shrinking back to destruction were the same as " shrink back " of 
ver. 38, only developed to its full significance, and thus, as if 
the Apostle denies of himself and readers, what is there imputed 
to some conditionally. This, however, is a misapprehension. If 
it were said : if a righteous man doubts, he is to be blamed ; but 
we are not of them that doubt to destruction, it would be under- 
stood that, while admitting that some are doubting, it is affirmed 
that it is not, or must not be doubting that goes the length that 
incurs destruction. And were it added : we are of faith to gain- 
ing the soul, the aim would be understood to be to strengthen 
the faith. Such is the signification of our present verse. We 
have seen that shrinking back may be predicated of one righteous 
by faith, as doubt and timidity may be.^ We have seen what 
that may be by a most exact illustration, which shows that it is 
something far short of apostasy, and farther still from an 
obdurate and reprobate condition. In the light of that meaning, 
what is now affirmed is the explicit denial that shrinking back to 
the degree that incurs destruction may be predicated of one 

^ Comp. Calvin, Del., Ebrard, von Hof., Davidson. 
* Comp. 2 Cor. iv. 9. 

xi. 1.] FAITH WINS LIFE. 407 

righteous by faith.* It is affirmed in the most expressive way. 
The Apostle denies for himself and readers any relation to the 
thing : viz., shrinking back to destruction. He says : we are not 
of that thing ; and not : we are not of them that do that thing. 
This he completes by the positive contrary : but we are of faith 
to gaining the soul.^ And this is to say, in other words : " my 
righteous one by faith shall live." For T:epi.T:oirj<jiv (I'vp,^ expresses 
the same with respect to a-wXeiav that tupia/.u) il'oyr^v does to 
aTzoXXupx 4'0'/ri\>? And by ^-u/i; here is meant life.* 

What the Apostle means by destruction and life must relate to 
the same thing that has been in his mind from x. 27, viz., " the 
judgment a-coming on the adversaries." He does not again use 
the word d-wXsta; and he uses d-uX/.ufu only i. 11, in no kindred 
connection. We must, then, infer the meaning of d-wXsia from 
the use of it most kindred to the subject before us. That is 
found in the discourse of Jesus relating to the rejection of the 
Jews who rejected their Messiah. Compare in the parable of 
the "Wicked Husbandmen," Matt. xxi. 41 ; and of the ''Mar- 
riage Supper," Matt. xxii. 7. We are thus confirmed in the view 
maintained above, that the Apostle has in mind the impending 
judgment from God that, in the destruction of Jerusalem, signal- 
ized the rejection of the Jews who rejected their JMessiah, the 
Son of God. Shrinking back to destruction would be to become 
involved in that. To be of faith would be the gaining of life in 
that judgment.' 

In this verse the Author has presented the truth in that 
abstract form * that is appropriate when representing a subject 
that is to be amplified. That subject, stated still more abstractly, 
is : those that are of faith shrink not back to destruction, but 
gain life. Agreeably to this the Apostle proceeds in close con- 
nection : 

XI. 1 . Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the dem- 
onstration of things not seen. 

' Against Del., Alford. ^ Comp. iv. 3. 

^ Comp. van Hof., and Matt. xvi. 25. 

*de Wette; comp. 1 Thess. v. 9, 10; against Del., Alford. 

5 Comp. 1 Thess. v. 1-11. «Comp. ix. 15. 


It is debated whether this may be called a definition of faith.' 
But it seems to us that the question only arises in view of the 
fact that the definition given here does not cover all that is rep- 
resented of faith in the New Testament. Theological definition 
attempts such comprehensiveness, because the thing defined is, for 
us, all that it there appears to be in the whole New Testament or 
the whole Bible. From the nature of the case, this could not be 
thought of by an Apostle or his readers. Thus the debate is out 
of place. A theological definition the present verse is not, as we 
understand and attempt such definition. To demand this of the 
Apostle, or apply it as a measure of the perfection of what he 
writes, is to exact a prophetic intuition or inspiration exceeding 
anything that was ever claimed for inspiration. Such definition 
would not only comprehend all that had been said and written 
by inspiration, but also anticipate all that was afterward to be 
said and written, that the definition might square with that. 
But a definition of faith our verse is, of that kind that wise and 
penetrating instructors give who are original writers and pioneers 
in the subjects of which they treat. " Metaphysics " is thus 
very differently defined by an immediate disciple of Aristotle, by 
Clement of Alexandria, by the schoolmen, by Bacon, and by Kant. 
A good definition of " metaphysics " now would attempt to cover 
all that has been properly comprehended under it; and that 
would be like theological definition. 

Our Author's definition covers the phenomenon as it appears 
in the relations in which he treats of faith. It is so far com- 
plete, that where the things that he predicates of faith are not, 
there is no faith. The present aim of writing may be expressed 
in the words of x. 35, 36 : " Cast not away your confidence, 
which has great reward ; for ye have need of patience, that, hav- 
ing done the will of God, ye may receive the promise." In rela- 
tion to this aim the definition is exactly to the point. For it 
affirms that faith is precisely what inspires the boldness and sus- 
tains the patience in question. It affirms what faith is, not what 
it secures to us, or that it is as something in us.^ The assurance 
and demonstration designated, are the faith. As our faith, it is 

1 See Del., Alford. ^ Against Alford. 


these tilings in us. All that has been said in our epistle about 
believing, limits the notion of faith to believing a word of God 
revealing something to come. The study of the present chapter 
shows that it is presented there with the same limitation. It is 
not, then, any or all faith ^ in general that we are invited to con- 
sider. It is, however, faith with relation to any declaration by 
a word of God relating to anything to come, and not to one par- 
ticular thing, as, c. g., the promise of salvation by a Messiah. 
Accordingly, the personal examples adduced in what follows 
exhibit faith in relation to a variety of things revealed to them 
severally by a word of God. This is a sufficiently general 
notion to explain the mention of faith, here and throughout the 
chapter, without the article. The double form of our definition is 
due to the fact, that in the situation to which the Apostle speaks, 
and accordingly also, in the examples he gives, the matter for faith 
is not always something that can be properly said to be hoped for, 
i. e., in the sense of desire. The impending destruction was not ; 
and, in the case of Noah, the impending flood was not. But such 
things were unseen things, and faith was the demonstration of them. 

In illustration of what he has affirmed faith to be, the Apostle 
appeals to the facts of sacred history, as, indeed, is necessary, 
because the faith in question relates to things revealed by a word 
of God. He first makes the appeal in a comprehensive way. 

Ver. 2. For in this the ancients had witness borne to them. 

By the ancients are meant all the worthies of the past in the 
history of God's people, as the following enumeration of examples 
shows, which includes even those mentioned in the Apocrypha. 
MapTopsi<jf}ai'^ is used of being " well spoken of, or well reported 
of to others.^ The same must be its meaning here, and it is par- 
ticularly as the Scripture testifies in their case that the Apostle 
appeals to them. What the Apostle proceeds to affirm, con- 
cerning such ancient worthies as he names, is on the ground of 
what is represented in the Scripture. This he sometimes does in 
the present tense, as an historical present of the record before 
him. Such is the case ver. 4 {napropouvro^-XaXeT; also the perfect, 

^ Against Alford. "^ Version of 1611, ^="obtained a good report." 

* Ck>mp. Acts vi. 3 ; x. 22 ; xvi. 1 ; xxii. 11. 

410 Maprupelff&ai. [xi. 3. 

/jLs/jtaprupyjTat ver. 5). But he does it in the past tense also, repre- 
senting the testimony as having been given on the spot. Such 
is the case here and ver. 4, i/iapruprjt^. As it is not uncommon 
for the English reader to understand that the testimony was 
borne to the ancient worthies themselves, whereby they were cer- 
tified and made confident by assurances from God Himself to 
them, it is important to bear in mind what has just been noted. 
We find, indeed, expositors sometimes expressing themselves 
ambiguously in this matter. Thus concerning Abel : " he 
obtained testimony that he was righteous " (Whitby) ; " some 
token by which his own faith was strengthened " (Owen). It 
does not appear, however, that any considerable expositor beside 
Bengel has purposely so interpreted iJ.aprupeTai'^at. It is not of 
certifying or assuring of themselves that the Author speaks, but 
of the ancients being attested to all whom it may concern, i. e., 
well reported of, and that tv -iazet ; for raurrj refers to -larL'}. In 
this means " in the domain, or region, or matter, of faith : " so 
i-avA(7(i} u'la^ av touto), 1 Cor. xi. 23.* It is not easy to define 
the logical relation of the present statement to the foregoing defi- 
nition of faith expressed by For. It is rather loose, and may be 
equivalent to saying : just this faith characterized the ancients to 
whom the Scripture gives such honorable testimony.^ The state- 
ment is a preface that leads us to expect something to be added 
in verification of it. And this accordingly follows ver. 4 sqq. 

The Apostle adduces his examples in the chronological order 
of Scripture. We see no reason but the purpose of following 
that order for introducing here the affirmation contained in verse 
3, which expresses an efiect of faith in us, and not in the ancients. 
The matter referred to occupies the foremost place in the Scrip- 
tures. As something to be apprehended by faith, it concerns all 
generations alike. The briefest way to express that all persons 
of faith of all time have apprehended this truth, as faith must, 
is to say, as the Author does : hy faith we perceive. To say : 
" by faith they perceived," would be too narrow for a truth so 

Ver. 3. By faith we understand that the ages have been pre- 

^Alford. *Comp. Liin. 


pared by the word of God, so that not out of things apparent hath 
that which is seen been made. 

Against the rendering ' that connects the /nj with <pat\>oiii'^(uv = 
"things not apparent," see Alford. It belongs to the whole 
clause.^ The £;'? ru =iso that, is telic ^ and not ecbatic,^ and makes 
the clause expressive of intention. By tou? aiwva^ we understand, 
as at i. 2, not the material creations merely, but these as they 
are related to periods of time, and so as having history.^ Thus, 
as an expression, it includes the visible, material world, but de- 
notes more than that world as made once and so continuing as 
made. It denotes that world with all the changes that constitute 
its phenomena, particularly as relates to mankind. The notion 
of many worlds in the modern astronomical sense is an ana- 
chronism when applied to our Author's words. 

It is here affirmed that the ages were prepared or disposed 
{y-aTTipziaf^ai) by the word of God, so that what is seen has not 
been made (ytyo>ivm = " come about ") from things apparent. 
The point of this statement is not that the ages were prepared by 
the word of God, but that they were so made with the intent 
here expressed.® This is not a mere matter of observation, nor 
is it something merely apprehended as a thing we read, say in 
scripture. It is something we understand, if received by the 
mind at all. Thus the Apostle appropriately writes : viwu/iev. 
And this understanding we have by faith. 

This grammatical and logical interpretation of the verse is 
readily ascertained. But the thing we are said to understand is 
difficult of explanation. Are ipav^iizva and ro [ikt-otiz^jo-j syno- 
nyms, by which, for elegance sake, the Author avoids the repeti- 
tion of the same sound ? ^ Or do they denote different things ? 
The former is correct. The latter notion offers no meaning ex- 
cept to such as see in our verse a cropping out of Alexandrian 
philosophy in the Author.* All that we have learned of the 
Author opposes our resorting to such aid in interpreting him. 

* Of Chrys. ; Del., etc. * von Hof. ; comp. 2 Thess. ii. 2. 
' Lun., Del., von Hof. * Alford, etc. 

^So Alford; Moll; Farrar, "Early days of Christianity," chap, xviii. § 8. 

* von Hof. ' So Riehm. p. 57. ^ Comp. Del. 


What is the intention here expressed ? " The meaning is : so that, 
according to the counsel of God, the fact was guarded against, 
that what is seen should issue from things apparent, consequently 
mankind from the beginning would be remanded to the necessity 
of faith." ^ As for the things in the Apostle's mind in so ex- 
pressing himself, it is reasonable to suppose that he should mean 
some things more particularly than things universally ; and what 
they might be we may infer from the preceding part of the 
epistle. His reference to ages [alibva) ^ has been in connection 
with the history of salvation. His definition of faith makes it 
the demonstration of things hoped for, but not seen (ver. 1, comp. 
ver. 7) ; thus when faith and hope cea-^e, the same things will be 
things seen. His use of the words " faith " and " believing " 
has been exclusively with reference to " the world to come," ^ and 
the " promise " of salvation.* It is safest, and it is sufficient to 
interpret the present meaning from these elements. The Apostle 
says we understand, with particular reference to himself and 
readers as in the foregoing chapter. With respect to the ages, 
what is understood is, that what is seen has not come about from 
what is apparent. This expresses that the potencies of things 
seen were not in preceding phenomena. They originated in the 
word of God, the word of power. This makes the word of God 
the sole reliance in reference to all things, things seen now, and 
things to be seen. This we understand by faith, which means, 
on the assurance received from God and believed. This does not 
mean only the word of revelation concerning the creation (Gen. i.), 
but that, together with all that in scripture gives the same assur- 
ance. Taking : the worlds in the sense already explained, not 
only the word of God making the earth, but the same word 
upholding it and disposing its history, is necessary to give this 
assurance.* With this understanding of our verse, we find it 
mentions our faith in the same way as in the instances that follow. 
It is not a faith with reference to what has happened, and thus 
a consequence, while the following instances mention faith as an 
antecedent to something done by means of it. Our faith also has 

1 Lun. M. 2 ; vi. 5 ; ix. 26. ' vi. 5 ; x. 38. * iv. 2 ; vi. 12. 

* Comp. 2 Pet. iii. 6, 7, where '^6yu is used as pTjfmTt here. 

xi. 4.] Abel's more excellent sacrifice. 413 

for its consequence that, so understanding how the ages have 
come about, we live by faith. 

Ver. 4. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacri- 
fice than Cain, by which he was borne witness to that he was right- 
eous, God bearing witness in respect of his gifts ; and by it he 
being dead yet speaks. Comp. Gen. iv. 3 sqq. 

When the Apostle says that it was by faith that Abel did as 
here recited, it is precisely as in ver. 3, he says : " by faith we under- 
stand ; " that is, it is his affirmation, and not the recital of what 
another, (c. g., the Scripture in the present case) affirms. The 
same thing is true, and is important to bear in mind in all the sub- 
sequent cases. What he affirms in the present and every other 
case is on the ground of what the Scripture or other sources testify 
of the persons. That testimony is not directly, that Abel or the 
others had faith, much less that they had faith in precisely the way 
described ver. 1 . But in view of what is testified, the AjDostle says 
it was by faith that such things were so in their case.' The 
scriptural facts in Abel's case are : («) he offered a more excellent 
sacrifice than Cain. It is not said here in what respect it was 
better. It vas better, as the account shows ; and the Apostle 
means to affirm, not that faith made the sacrifice better, but that 
by faith Able offi^red what was a better sacrifice. (6) " God bore 
witness to him in respect to his gifts that he was righteous." The 
fact is plainly signified Gen. iv. 4, though the manner of it is 
not. We see from /mprupim, used here both actively and passively 
in what sense it is meant. God is the active subject in both, and 
gives testimony of something (here righteousness) concerning a 
person (Abel), the testimony being directed to others (in this 
case Cain, in the first instance), that they might know how God 
regarded the person to whom he bore witness. It is a mistake 
to suppose ^ the Apostle refers to how Jesus bore witness to 
"righteous Abel" (Matt, xxiii. 25). Nor docs he mean the tes- 
timony as a matter of record, which is testimony to us. He 
means the testimony as it was given on the spot. This he says 
Able obtained by faith (dC r;?). When he says the testimony was 
"that he was righteous," that, as the : by faith, is the Apostle's 

' So von Ilof. ^ "With Owen, etc. 


affirmation, not the Scripture's. And the statement shows that 
the thought of x. 38, " the righteous one by faith," is retained in 
the present representations, (c) And being dead lie yet speaks. 
This is the most extraordinary of all the present statements. 
The reference is to the record Gen. iv. 10 " The voice of thy 
brother^s blood crieth unto me from the ground." The present 
tense : speaks is the present of that narrative and graphic like 
the present participial imprupouvro^ preceding. The meaning is 
that Abel speaks (spoke) to God, though dead,^ and not that he 
speaks and has spoken to succeeding generations in the Scripture. 
This, the Apostle says again, Abel did by faith {dC auT-7j'>). Tlie 
meaning is that, dead as well as alive, Abel was an object of con- 
cern to God and in communion with him.^ Faith, the assurance 
of things hoped for, the demonstration of things not seen, could 
bring that about ! What an illustration of the Apostle's saying : 
" we are of faith unto the gaining of the soul ; and the righteous 
one by faith shall live ! " ^ 

Ver. 5. By faith Enoch was translated so as not to see death, 
and he was not found because God translated him. For before the 
translation he has been borne witness to that he had been well- 
pleasing to God. Comp. Gen. v. 10, 21-24. 

In the foregoing illustration, faith made Abel do something. 
In this, the faith of Enoch makes God do something. The dif- 
ference is more in appearance than in substance. Chrysostom 
bridges the hiatus in thought thus : " How was Enoch translated 
by faith ? because his pleasing God was the cause of the transla- 
tion, and faith was the cause of his pleasing God." The Tpd t?;? 
;j.eTa''^rj(T£(u? is to be taken locally, with reference to the order of 
the Scripture record as representing the order of the facts. Be- 
fore it is recorded that he was translated, it is recorded that he 
pleased God. To this the Author refers as to testimony accord- 
ing to the norm of ver. 2. Hence the perfect tense. Well- 
pleasing to God is according to the LXX, that so renders the 
Hebrew : " walked with God," Gen. v. 24. " It is, however, 
plain that the Apostle knew the original text, from his adding : 

Yer. 6. Now without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing 

' Calvin, Del., von Hof., Liin. ^ Co^ap. Calvin. » x. 39, 38. 

xi. 6, 7.] RIGHTEOUS NOAH. 415 

[unto him], for he that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and 
[that] he is a rewarder of them that seek after him. 

" Both T.fuxsiityzaUa'. -tu Hzio and ixXr^rt'vj ah-ov are occasioned 
by the Hebrew : ' he walked with God,' and not by the 
LXX rendering : ' he was well-pleasing unto God.' " ^ That he 
is: the present text is "the only place where the existence of God 
is thus expressed!"^ The coming- to God meant here, is that 
approach or drawing near for worship that has frequent mention 
in our epistle. Enoch's walking M'ith God, by which he was 
well-pleasing unto God, was by faith that showed itself in the 
manner here described. 

Ver. 7 a. By faith Noah having been warned [of God], fearing^ 
about the things not yet seen, prepared an ark